Passage for Study: 2nd Corinthians 12: 1 – 10 … Linked for study …
My Journal for Today: Yes, we’re hovering again here in the passage about Paul’s “thorn in the flesh;” and today Chuck Swindoll wants me to really see and internalize one of the bottom-line truths from this passage of Scripture. And that is related to what I wrote about yesterday – that life is not about comfort and accumulation and personal fulfillment. No, … dear one, … we simply must learn what Paul espoused in verse 10 of this passage … that life, no matter how challenging, is all about God; and we must learn that what Paul also taught in Romans 8: 28 and Phil. 2: 11-13 [look them up!]… that in all situations, all circumstances, and all struggles, God is in control and He ALWAYS has our good in His plan for us; … AND it is all for Him and not for me.
Paul got truly got it; as we can read in this passage, even boasting about … well, take a look at the list, which Swindoll helped me see today. Paul said he could BOAST about …
• What he had lost,
• In his weaknesses,
• In the face of insults,
• When he was slandered,
• When he was persecuted,
• As he faced any of the difficulties in life, … and …
• With any of the pressures the world presented.
Even after praying and praying and praying that God, in His sovereignty, would take away the “thorn” from his life, Paul came to realize that God had allowed this painful thing, whatever it was, into his life so that he could and would remain humble, therefore allowing him to receive God’s enabling grace and for him to be able to be strong in the face of his weaknesses. As I alluded to yesterday, it was as if the Apostle was saying, “Okay, Lord, if this thorn is what it takes for me to have Your strength; bring it on!” And by extension, it was also as if Paul was witnessing to the world by saying, “Hey, world, look at how God can deal with my weaknesses in the face of this pain … just like He will for you, if you let Him!”
And there is another Pauline truth that I thought of as I was reading Swindoll’s devotional this morning, which also came from Paul’s letter to the Philippians, in Phil. 1: 6. You probably know it. It says, “… being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” And so, as the title of my devotional for today says, my friend, “It’s not about you!” No, it’s all about God and HIS plan and purpose for our lives. And that was the opening (and really the closing) message of Rick Warren’s incredibly popular book The Purpose Driven Life, wasn’t it? Life is not about me; … it’s about God.
And so, trusting in the truth of what Paul learned via his “thorn,” and living in the reality of the truth of Paul’s admonition of Romans 8: 28, that ALL things work together for my good, I too can boast of all those challenges which come my way in life; because the truth is that God is using those “thorns” to be a staging ground for His work to make me just like Jesus. And isn’t that worth anything it takes? Isn’t that the bottom-line goal for all Christians … to become like our Savior? Of course it is. So, I pray – as I will below – that God allows me to share Paul’s “bring it on” attitude; and to let the world see God shaping me into the image of my Lord.
My Prayer for Today: Oh, it is with fear and trembling, Lord, that I come before Your throne of grace saying “THANK YOU” for all the weaknesses in my life, … all of which showcase Your strength and give You glory. Lord, it’s all about YOU! Amen