Too often we define beauty and success by the world’s standards. A rose with all of its thorns is still the most beautiful and favored of all flowers. Its beauty is not diminished because of its thorns; its beauty is in spite of its thorns.
While we are desperately trying to remove our thorns, to achieve the world’s standard of perfection, let’s be reminded of Paul. Paul with all the power and effectiveness of his ministry, testifies in 2 Corinthians:12:7-9 “And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure”.
Success brings with it, the tendency to feel a very real sense of accomplishment. As children of God and recipients of his favor, it is easy to believe we have done things “in and of” ourselves. Although we may master many things, there are also those things that we are never able to obtain. The revelations given to Paul “by God” made him standout and gave him a power he did not possess in the natural. The focus could have easily shifted from Christ to Paul; but that one thing, that thorn that he could not remove, was the constant reminder that the accolades, the glory did not belong to him.
“For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me”.
Although Paul begged of the Lord; not once but “thrice” to remove that thing that he felt was a hindrance, a distraction, a shortcoming, a deficiency, he finally “got it”. Then God reminded him, “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” He understood perfectly that it is God that makes all things perfect. Even with thorns we are made perfect by grace. It is the very thing we cannot do that reminds us of God’s power as well as his grace.
“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me”
Paul understood that all that “he was or every hoped to be” was centered in Christ. It was the failures, the human limitation, his inadequacy and those things that he could not do “in and of” himself, that made Christ visible in his life. Allow God to do the hard things in your life. Allow him to change the things you cannot. Allow him to make you perfected by his grace. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”. Ephesians 2:8-9
Prayer: Father it is in, through and by you that we are saved. It is in, through and by you that we are made perfect. Let us remember and not forget that you are our source. May our thorns be a constant reminder that Your Grace is sufficient. May you always be visible in our lives and we shall give you all the glory for you alone are worthy.