Tuesday, 31 December 2019
Question of the day: What is Paul's "thorn in the flesh?"
Answer: 2 Corinthians 12:7b "So that I would not exalt myself, a thorn in the flesh was given to me - as a messenger of satan to torment me, so I would not exalt myself."
We don't definitively know what this "messenger of satan" was that tormented Paul. We it a physical illness or deformity as many suspect? Perhaps Paul was plagued emotionally with a defect like a temper. We don't have evidence that such is the case. Could the thorn in the flesh be another person such as Alexander the coppersmith? (2 Timothy 4:14).
Rather than continue to speculate about what it was that kept Paul humble 2,000 years ago, let me make this personal. What is it that is keeping each of us humble? That's the real question of the day.
For each of us, the thorn in the flesh could be physical, emotional or spiritual. Let's consider the emotional and spiritual possibilities for a moment.
God's gifts are extraordinary. As children of the King of kings, we could easily become puffed up, especially as leaders. We should all have this attitude ... "There but by the grace of God go I." In other words, that could easily be me in that situation.
Almost all sin arises from an ungodly desire. This about how many of the 10 commandments are connected to overcoming ungodly desire. Ask yourself, "What do I want that God does not want for me?"
Paul captured this thought rightly. Philippians 4:11b-12 "for whatever circumstance I am in, I have learned to be content. I know what it is to live with humble means, and I know what it is to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of contentment - both to be filled and to go hungry, to have abundance and to suffer need."
We must practice our faith. Among the many Scriptures that command our thankfulness is this one. Psalm 9:2(1) "I will praise Adonai with my whole heart. I will tell about all Your wonders."
Note to self ... Be ye thankful in all things.
Rabbi Michael Weiner,