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Thorns


“I can’t keep away from porn. It consumes my thoughts when I’m alone. I know it’s not real and I know it’s wrong, but I keep going back. I’m so frustrated.”

“That strip joint is right there, on my way home. I’m gonna have a drink anyway so . . . here I go again. “

“I can’t seem to relax until after my bourbon and Coke after work. It’s never just one anymore.”

“I’ve never felt anything like the rush after a hit on a meth pipe. I just want to feel that way all the time.”

“What I saw on the battlefield still haunts me. I’m not sure I’ll ever get over that.”

“The rush I get when another woman smiles at me is intoxicating. I know it’s ‘game time’ when she smiles.”

“I was abused as a child. Now I’m so confused. Why would God allow that to a child. It’s affected my whole life. He must think I’m permanently scarred and unsavable now.”

These are sample of a few quotes of men who reach out to our ministry. Good men. Concerned men that can’t seem to shake their weaknesses or their pasts. Men you might sit next to in church. Men you might go to social events with, or join in cheering on your favorite sports team. Men you probably see at your kid’s baseball game or at a school play. Men who are scared, tired, confused, angry and depressed because they can’t seem to pluck out their . . . THORNS. They regret their actions, but keep going back to the same sin that torments them. They dwell on their pasts and isolate. They create a cycle of sin and spiritual mediocrity they think they can overcome through their own effort. Many realize their effort is futile as they can’t escape it and eventually feel God will never forgive them, as they become hopeless and a slave to their sin or what’s happened to them. Many of them are believers in Jesus Christ, but still go back to their vomit. They feel trapped and just resign themselves to the thought of how “poor and lowly” they are, thus somehow justifying why they can’t escape from their thorn. So, they continue on, and on, and on in torment.

I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

– 2 Corinthians 12

Yeah, you read that right. Paul had a thorn; planted by Satan. The man that wrote 2/3 of the New Testament still had a thorn that he pleaded with Jesus to remove. You see, Satan was working on Paul’s mind, 2000 years ago, just like he is working on distracting you today. Think about it. Satan knows he lost you once you believed in Christ, but he doesn’t want you knowing the full story. He will do everything he can to keep you from understanding the power of grace through faith in Jesus by having you focus on your thorn. He wants you questioning your righteousness and identity in Christ. He wants you going back to doing what you don’t want to do as he positions your mind to see your sin as fun and exciting, making you feel better or allowing you to escape in some way. All the while your thorn just keeps festering and filling with blood and pus as infection sets in and grows, causing you to focus on it even more. Yeah, he doesn’t want you knowing who you truly are as God’s forgiven, holy, justified and righteous son. He knows if you understand the power of grace, that you will realize the thorn, while attached to you, is not part of you or who you are, and you will be able to pluck it out and finally experience the freedom God promised in Genesis. The freedom to live free from the thorns of sin that Satan plants.

Did you notice how Jesus replied to Paul’s plea to remove his thorn in the scripture above. “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness.” Did you notice that Jesus didn’t say he’d remove the thorn. He didn’t say Paul must obsess with his thorn and work hard to remove it. He didn’t say, “My grace plus a lot of hard work will pluck it out.” He said His Grace is sufficient and His power is made perfect when Paul is weakest. Think about that for a second. Our almighty powerful God says His power is made perfect, made even stronger, when we are weak! (Imagine such a strength, God’s strength, becoming even more powerful . . . come on man! Lessss Goooo! How humbling and awe inspiring is that?) Jesus says we can depend on Him and nothing else. HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT! When we are weak, He wants us to focus only on Him, not our own ability, as only His power, made perfect in our weakness and need, will help us extract that thorn so we can fully heal from it.

That’s why grace is the most powerful gift God gave us when we believed in the blood and resurrection of Christ. Grace is our biggest weapon against sin as He helps us conquer temptation and sin in our lives. (See Titus 2) That’s why Paul boasted in his weakness, because of how his weakness unleashed a power that Satan’s thorns can NEVER overcome!

So, what’s your thorn brothers and sisters? Do you feel helpless or hopeless to overcome? Feel like you aren’t forgiven? Have you shared how that thorn is tormenting you with someone you can trust? Who knows, they might have the same thorn, and they may have overcome it, through Christ and genuine Christian brotherhood. Our mission at MPACT Ministries is to help each other discover the power of God’s gift, that only gets stronger when we are weak, to help us pluck out the thorn with that gift . . . HIS GRACE. So, let’s discover Him . . . together.

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