A Thorn in the Flesh


St. Paul had a truly awesome revelation. He shares how God kept him grounded. In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 we read, “That I might not become too elated, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, an angel of Satan, to beat me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’”

Paul’s thorn was given him to help him deal with being too elated by what he could legitimately boast about. Don’t we sometimes boast about our successes? We can get a little too caught up in ourselves. We buy stuff and do things that, in essence, say, “Look at me. Look at what I’ve done. Look at what I have. Aren’t I wonderful.”

Many people have opportunities to boast, be it due to financial and business success, physical health and beauty, and other seemingly good reasons. But as good stewards, we know that we truly do not have any reason to call attention to our accomplishments, or good fortune, or least of all, any fleeting beauty. We know that all of these are gifts from God. We are to receive them gratefully. Humbly. In gratitude for them, we are to give praise and thanksgiving to God.

When Jesus performed miracles, He usually instructed the healed person to tell no one. He deflected all acclaim to God. All glory goes to God the Father. It certainly is not due us. Hence, we, like Paul, may need a thorn in our side. 

What is your thorn? What do you struggle with when it comes to putting God first in your finances? Is it worry – worry about what others might think or say about you if you have to decline invitations to go out on the town? Is it concern about how you might not look so successful if you give sacrificially instead of having that money to spend on luxuries? Whatever your thorn, bring it to God in prayer. Leave it at the cross for Jesus to handle. In humble gratitude give God praise for all of His blessings, be obedient to His commands, give courageously to the needs of the poor and trust that God’s grace will be sufficient for you.


Photo Credits: Robert Davis

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