Thorn in the Flesh

1 Corinthians 12:

It is doubtless[a] not profitable for me to boast. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord: I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven. And I know such a man—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—how he was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such a one I will boast; yet of myself I will not boast, except in my infirmities. For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

The Thorn in the Flesh

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me,“My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


2 Corinthians 11

Paul Boasts About His Sufferings

16 I repeat: Let no one take me for a fool. But if you do, then tolerate me just as you would a fool, so that I may do a little boasting. 17 In this self-confident boasting I am not talking as the Lord would, but as a fool. 18 Since many are boasting in the way the world does, I too will boast. 19 You gladly put up with fools since you are so wise! 20 In fact, you even put up with anyone who enslaves you or exploits you or takes advantage of you or puts on airs or slaps you in the face. 21 To my shame I admit that we were too weak for that!

Whatever anyone else dares to boast about—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast about. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they Abraham’s descendants? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? (I am out of my mind to talk like this.) I am more. I have worked much harder,been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. 24 Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was pelted with stones, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, 26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers. 27 I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. 28 Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I do not feel weak? Who is led into sin, and I do not inwardly burn?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, who is to be praised forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 In Damascus the governor under King Aretas had the city of the Damascenes guarded in order to arrest me. 33 But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands.

Infirmities.  Weaknesses.

We are called to be perfected in Christ. This is a process that takes time and patience and trials and perseverance. Even Paul was weak and “inwardly burned.” Strong’s shows it like this:

Weak: Orig: from 772; to be feeble (in any sense):–be diseased, impotent folk (man), (be) sick, (be, be made) weak. G772
1) to be weak, feeble, to be without strength, powerless
2) to be weak in means, needy, poor
3) to be feeble, sick

Burn: Orig: from 4442; to kindle, i.e. (passively) to be ignited, glow (literally), be refined (by implication), or (figuratively) to be inflamed (with anger, grief, lust):–burn, fiery, be on fire, try. G4442
1) to burn with fire, to set on fire, kindle
1a) to be on fire, to burn
1a1) to be incensed, indignant
1b) make to glow
1b1) full of fire, fiery, ignited
1b1a) of darts filled with inflammable substances and set on fire               1b2) melted by fire and purged of dross

Paul felt foolish doing it, but he felt it was necessary for others to know that he too suffered. Not only physically for the cause of Christ but emotionally, internally with sin. He died to himself, but he still had flesh. We all will until we’re translated into the Third Heaven. Just because we’re Christians doesn’t mean we won’t struggle in this world. We’re supposed to:
Romans 5

Peace and Hope
5 Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we[b] boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we[c] also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Galatians 6:2 says we should bear each others burdens which would fulfill the law of Christ. Loving others by easing the things that weigh on them, helping them fight sin, pray and intercede for them.
Word: baroj (Burden)

Pronounce: bar’-os

Strongs Number: G922

Orig: probably from the same as 939 (through the notion of going down; compare 899); weight; in the New Testament only, figuratively, a load, abundance, authority:–burden(-some), weight. G939

Heb Strong: H3519
1) heaviness, weight, burden, trouble

So in relation to my last post, how will others know that you or me needs help with something unless we are willing to throw down our pride, admit to being a fleshy human who is in progress through refinement? How can the Bride support other members of the body unless we can vocalize our areas of concern, stress, trouble and sorrow?  They can’t! Which means it prevents them from fulfilling the law of Christ in their own progress of refinement.

Matthew 25:31-40 says:

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

We are never without need. God supplies our needs for sure! But God likes to use people to do His work.  Can we lower our walls and be open enough with each other so that we can bear each others burdens? So we could fulfill the law of Christ and be obedient to the word? Can we clean someone’s house or bring them food or pray with them, weep and mourn with them, help them get their life together when it all falls apart? YES WE CAN! But first we have to be aware of these things…and sometimes we have to ask for the help. Ask for the miracle…and if everything is always “okay” or “fine” and nothing is ever wrong, you’re robbing others the opportunity to be a part of your life and a part of the story God wrote for you.