Pauls thorn. The facts

By Faith

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Excellent.

Now that we are focused, would you care to explain......
" If the Holy Spirit tied Isa 53 to physical healing, then I ask are all the explinations unreasonable?"

When did that happen???? That does seem to be he center of your thesis.
Always seems to take pages of post to get to a root of something. A phone call might be nice at times. :)

I see disobedience to God, deserving punishment a physical and a possible eternal seperation from God.

When Israel disobeyed God, Physical consequences where right around the corner.

So Deut 28 tells us every sickness not even named in the book, God will bring those also until thou be destroyed.

Sickness, Disease, just bad stuff was designed to kill us and take quality of life away. Even Paul turning one over to Satan was for the destruction of his flesh.

The curse for disobedience brought physical things. Things we deserved.

Jesus redemened us from the curse, and those things caused as punishment including sickness, and to be eternally seperated from God.

I see two things Jesus had done. If Redemened from the curse, then the curse included sickness.

Nothing is automatic Major. God requires us to believe in what He said. Some believe different areas of scripture better than other areas. We all do, and all have different levels of revelation given to us.

ISA:

Mat 8:16-17 NET 16 When it was evening, many demon-possessed people were brought to him. He drove out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick. 17 In this way what was spoken by Isaiah the prophet was fulfilled: “He took our weaknesses and carried our diseases.”

Isa 53:4-5 YLT 4 Surely our sicknesses he hath borne, And our pains--he hath carried them, And we--we have esteemed him plagued, Smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 And he is pierced for our transgressions, Bruised for our iniquities, The chastisement of our peace is on him, And by his bruise there is healing to us.

Jesus brought the concept of Eternal life and sins being forgiven. That is a NT thing. Isreal knew only about sin and physical punishment. It's why the disciples asked if the parents sinned as to why the man was born blind.

It was the physical brusing and beating Jesus took for the punishment of the curse.

The blood, and ressurection Atoned for our sin, and took death away.

So the Holy Spirit said the Healing part was fullfilled by what Isaiah said when Jesus physically healed those people and cast out the devils.

Devils and sickness go hand and hand.

Be blessed Major, I tried to make this shorter.

 
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One of the interesting tests of doctrines, teachings, and interpretations is whether they Comfort, Strengthen, build up, enliven, spread love, and bring brothers and sisters closer both to the Word and to God Himself......

Or do they divide, separate, impugn, besmirch, cast down, and push brothers OUT of God's word....

As I see how shamefully our brother Naomanos has been treated here - it honestly grieves me... Here we are... Just like Job's 3 worthless friends - instead of comforting and encouraging him to persevere through these trials and suffering... Instead we Impugn and Besmirch.. Cast aspersions that his faith is lacking... Pile it on deeper and deeper. Gleefully dragging him through New and Exciting layers of Torment that even the Devil himself doesn't dare do out of fear of God's wrath....

So.. My caution here....

Do you want all your "Rewards" HERE - or would you like some rewards in heaven too....

Remember the word of Jesus in the parable of Lazarus the begger in Luke 16:25 :
"But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented."

See... Here's the thing... If your desire is to get all your rewards HERE - watch out or God may just oblige you...

Thanks
 

By Faith

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One of the interesting tests of doctrines, teachings, and interpretations is whether they Comfort, Strengthen, build up, enliven, spread love, and bring brothers and sisters closer both to the Word and to God Himself......

Or do they divide, separate, impugn, besmirch, cast down, and push brothers OUT of God's word....

As I see how shamefully our brother Naomanos has been treated here - it honestly grieves me... Here we are... Just like Job's 3 worthless friends - instead of comforting and encouraging him to persevere through these trials and suffering... Instead we Impugn and Besmirch.. Cast aspersions that his faith is lacking... Pile it on deeper and deeper. Gleefully dragging him through New and Exciting layers of Torment that even the Devil himself doesn't dare do out of fear of God's wrath....

So.. My caution here....

Do you want all your "Rewards" HERE - or would you like some rewards in heaven too....

Remember the word of Jesus in the parable of Lazarus the begger in Luke 16:25 :
"But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented."

See... Here's the thing... If your desire is to get all your rewards HERE - watch out or God may just oblige you...

Thanks
What exactly are you running on about here? Nobody has been mistreated.
 
Sep 3, 2009
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One of the interesting tests of doctrines, teachings, and interpretations is whether they Comfort, Strengthen, build up, enliven, spread love, and bring brothers and sisters closer both to the Word and to God Himself......

Or do they divide, separate, impugn, besmirch, cast down, and push brothers OUT of God's word....

As I see how shamefully our brother Naomanos has been treated here - it honestly grieves me... Here we are... Just like Job's 3 worthless friends - instead of comforting and encouraging him to persevere through these trials and suffering... Instead we Impugn and Besmirch.. Cast aspersions that his faith is lacking... Pile it on deeper and deeper. Gleefully dragging him through New and Exciting layers of Torment that even the Devil himself doesn't dare do out of fear of God's wrath....

So.. My caution here....

Do you want all your "Rewards" HERE - or would you like some rewards in heaven too....

Remember the word of Jesus in the parable of Lazarus the begger in Luke 16:25 :
"But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented."

See... Here's the thing... If your desire is to get all your rewards HERE - watch out or God may just oblige you...

Thanks
Well said and I agree with you. My heart went out to Naomanos when he explained his concern for his wife. I have know of her condition for some time as he had explained it once before. He must be comforted and loved and lifted up not attacked or explained why.

Good comment!
 

By Faith

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Well said and I agree with you. My heart went out to Naomanos when he explained his concern for his wife. I have know of her condition for some time as he had explained it once before. He must be comforted and loved and lifted up not attacked or explained why.

Good comment!
He was offered Help Major. He did not want help. Like the disciples who could not cast that devil out... They even were given the power to do so, and failed. If something is not working, then you do what the disciples did and ask "Why could we not cast him out"

If I see failure in my own life, I don't settle for failure. I know it's not God, so It must be that I need to learn something I don't know yet. That was offered to the Brother. There is nothing on the planet God can't fix, and more importantly, there is nothing in our life God does not want to fix. God is a very good God.
 
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He was offered Help Major. He did not want help. Like the disciples who could not cast that devil out... They even were given the power to do so, and failed. If something is not working, then you do what the disciples did and ask "Why could we not cast him out"

If I see failure in my own life, I don't settle for failure. I know it's not God, so It must be that I need to learn something I don't know yet. That was offered to the Brother. There is nothing on the planet God can't fix, and more importantly, there is nothing in our life God does not want to fix. God is a very good God.
I agree, God is a very good God and Him saying no to healing at times doesn't make Him any less good.

I appreciate the offer of help, but it doesn't line up with what we believe. We believe that God does say my grace is sufficient for you and has His purposes for doing so.

I too believe she will be healed as I have said several times now. If it isn't till she goes to meet our Lord and Savior, then God didn't lie. She will still be healed completely when that happens and what a glorious day that will be.

So please, just respect our belief and move on.
 
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By Faith

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I agree, God is a very good God and Him saying no to healing at times doesn't make Him any less good.

I appreciate the offer of help, but it doesn't line up with what we believe. We believe that God does say my grace is sufficient for you and has His purposes for doing so.

I too believe she will be healed as I have said several times now. If it isn't till she goes to meet our Lord and Savior, then God didn't lie. She will still be healed completely when that happens and what a glorious day that will be.

So please, just respect our belief and move on.
Well, thank you for continuing to follow this. I want others to respect what I believe. I know not everyone post as "WISE" as they should and so things can seem to get unkind or nasty. Not my intent at all.

My belief is that your wife can get stronger and be well here and now on Earth. I don't believe it's God's will that her quality of life be taken from her, and you.

I respect what you believe. With that I'll leave a free link with a free book on 31 reasons why it's God's will to heal. The Word makes us stronger inside, and it will change everything.

Your choice of course to check it out. There are no ads, or anything to sign up, just click and watch.

www.flcbranson.org/listseries.php?xml=rss/GodsWillToHeal.xml

I am sorry if You felt there was any disrespect, I don't like to see or hear of anyone hurting and going through rough times.

Be blessed.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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I want others to respect what I believe....

byfaith, maybe you haven't heard of Joni earckson tada the paraplegic lady. Many well-meaning christians said she would be healed on earth.
By healing they took it to mean complete physical healing. But God didn't do that. He did something better - he healed her soul. And her quality of life became much better even though she was still in a wheelchair cos her faith was so strong.

My pastor's wife was not healed of cancer, and I know several weren't, but they went home to be with the Lord where they are completely healed. If you believe what Jesus said about heaven you would not mind so much that things aren't perfect, your body isn't perfect here on earth.

There will be times when God does miracles to encourage believers that He is real. But blessed are those who haven't seen and believed.
Several times when I was going through rough times I knew God's grace was sufficient for me. He then worked out a healing in me, but I had to do a lot to put sin away from my life. I think God has every believer in the palm of his hands and it's no good saying if God doesn't heal you don't have enough faith, you don't believe enough. You need to be building faith not tearing others down. What scriptures may be meaningful for healing in your situation may not be applicable to others in their own situations.

Prayer and fasting is good in all situations though...so if you believe something demons need to be cast out - then you're the one that needs to be praying and fasting for this lady. She may not be at this point yet. Yes can understand your frustration..I don't know why my pastors wife wasn't instantly healed when this cancer thing had been going on for what seemed like forever. But then I am not her. I don't know her walk in faith and I don't know God's purposes and what her death could mean or if she stayed alive would it have bought Him more glory? Did that mean Satan had won? None of us can live forever in this lifetime and always be in perfect health. We inevitably grow old and die. Heaven is a glorious place and He's not going to stop anyone from going there when He calls.
 
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I want others to respect what I believe....

byfaith, maybe you haven't heard of Joni earckson tada the paraplegic lady. Many well-meaning christians said she would be healed on earth.
By healing they took it to mean complete physical healing. But God didn't do that. He did something better - he healed her soul. And her quality of life became much better even though she was still in a wheelchair cos her faith was so strong.

My pastor's wife was not healed of cancer, and I know several weren't, but they went home to be with the Lord where they are completely healed. If you believe what Jesus said about heaven you would not mind so much that things aren't perfect, your body isn't perfect here on earth.

There will be times when God does miracles to encourage believers that He is real. But blessed are those who haven't seen and believed.
Several times when I was going through rough times I knew God's grace was sufficient for me. He then worked out a healing in me, but I had to do a lot to put sin away from my life. I think God has every believer in the palm of his hands and it's no good saying if God doesn't heal you don't have enough faith, you don't believe enough. You need to be building faith not tearing others down. What scriptures may be meaningful for healing in your situation may not be applicable to others in their own situations.

Prayer and fasting is good in all situations though...so if you believe something demons need to be cast out - then you're the one that needs to be praying and fasting for this lady. She may not be at this point yet. Yes can understand your frustration..I don't know why my pastors wife wasn't instantly healed when this cancer thing had been going on for what seemed like forever. But then I am not her. I don't know her walk in faith and I don't know God's purposes and what her death could mean or if she stayed alive would it have bought Him more glory? Did that mean Satan had won? None of us can live forever in this lifetime and always be in perfect health. We inevitably grow old and die. Heaven is a glorious place and He's not going to stop anyone from going there when He calls.
It is a two way street, with respect on what someone believes. God has given us the power to heal already, it isn't if God decides or not, He already has. Jesus speaks of having faith and belief many times in His ministry. When the disciples couldn't cast out a demon He didn't say God didn't help this person because He chose not to. What did He tell them?
 
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This week I was teaching SS and was lead to the subject of God's gift to us, since this is the gift giving season. This lead me to Romans 5. A few verses are suitable for this thread.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

And the end of the chapter:

18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
--
"eternal life" not necessarily physical healing. Trials and tribulations can produce
healing and growth of your spirit and soul, which is far more important.
 
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He talked about prayer and fasting.
I really think christians ought to fast more than they do, several always pray but they never or hardly ever fast. I am quite shocked at this.

With my pastors wife as I wasn't at that church for a while I think not many understood about the spiritual battle for his wife's soul and faith going on at the time. Even when God heals people, many have take their healing for granted and then do not go back and thank the Lord, like the lepers. They just think it's their due. There's a lot we don't understand about healing, and it's not that God chooses or not chooses. Healing is our provision, for sure, but we can't simply name it and claim it like some preachers lead you to believe. Then its our faith and not God. God knows if its best we heal or if he sees sickness as something we can endure.

Otherwise it makes no sense and you'd just expect Christians to never ever get sick. That is not reality. That's something out of cults like christian science or something.
 

By Faith

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but we can't simply name it and claim it like some preachers lead you to believe. Then its our faith and not God. God knows if its best we heal or if he sees sickness as something we can endure.

Otherwise it makes no sense and you'd just expect Christians to never ever get sick. That is not reality. That's something out of cults like christian science or something.
How many scritptures you need that show you "OUR" faith is what Gets us healed, saved and delivered?

Or should I spare you?

I can't think of any preacher that said you just claim something, then bo, bop, tabam, it shows up. If that be the case, my airplane would be waiting on me.

Jesus said, whatsoever "YOU" say and "Believe" what "YOU" say and Not Doubt in your spirit (Heart) those things "YOU" say shall come to pass, you shall have whatever "YOU" say. (Mark 11:23)

19 records of Jesus healing
10 of those Jesus said it was "THEIR" faith that healed them.

What we believe is important. It's not all up to God, as without faith, you can't even please God. (Heb 11:6)

This week I was teaching SS and was lead to the subject of God's gift to us, since this is the gift giving season. This lead me to Romans 5. A few verses are suitable for this thread.
Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

And the end of the chapter:

18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
--
"eternal life" not necessarily physical healing. Trials and tribulations can produce
healing and growth of your spirit and soul, which is far more important.
Trials and Tribulation produce nothing you said. If that be the case, theis whole planet would be shouting Glory to God.

The Greek says, the trying of "YOUR" faith "Works" Patience. That means Faith must already be there and only comes by hearing the Word of God.
Patience, Experience, and Experience Hope.

Without faith, the experience could be complete failure and even death.
 
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Any man or woman to whom God has given revelations concerning his Kingdom will suffer persecution as the Devil is not going to let that person roam the earth without some kind of resistance. This kind of information is dangerous to Satan's kingdom, because it is destroys darkness and reveals the true light. The Apostle Paul came to visions Revelations of God on a daily basis which made him a prime target from Satan, and his principalities and powers. At no time was Paul buffed up because of them as the Lord said, "my grace is sufficient...". We know God does NOT give grace to the proud, but only to the humble.

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

If Paul was proud in any way he would have never received these revelations or grace!!!

Healing is part of the New Covenant, and those who do not receive is only because they either don't know about it, or do not believe it. The Lord table was made for the Church to remember this covenant, and what the Lord provided in his death for our healing and salvation through his blood.

1Co 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
1Co 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
1Co 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1Co 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
1Co 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

Eating and drinking "unworthy" is if we don't understand that it was by his stripes we were healed, which is why some in the Church were "sick" and some have died!

Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
 

By Faith

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Any man or woman to whom God has given revelations concerning his Kingdom will suffer persecution as the Devil is not going to let that person roam the earth without some kind of resistance. This kind of information is dangerous to Satan's kingdom, because it is destroys darkness and reveals the true light. The Apostle Paul came to visions Revelations of God on a daily basis which made him a prime target from Satan, and his principalities and powers. At no time was Paul buffed up because of them as the Lord said, "my grace is sufficient...". We know God does NOT give grace to the proud, but only to the humble.

1Pe 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

If Paul was proud in any way he would have never received these revelations or grace!!!

Healing is part of the New Covenant, and those who do not receive is only because they either don't know about it, or do not believe it. The Lord table was made for the Church to remember this covenant, and what the Lord provided in his death for our healing and salvation through his blood.

1Co 11:26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.
1Co 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.
1Co 11:28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
1Co 11:29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself.
1Co 11:30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

Eating and drinking "unworthy" is if we don't understand that it was by his stripes we were healed, which is why some in the Church were "sick" and some have died!

Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Thats true, God does not give grace if your not Humble. Paul still blew it though, and Satan kicked the slats from underneath him.

What Paul did do wrong was go in with his own revelation and knowledge thinking that He knew more than enough to sway folks.

When we think we got it, and don't factor in that anointing thinking we are strong in something, then we are in trouble.

Satan sends a messenger to oppose what Paul was saying through his own knowledge he gained. The messenger got the folks stired up against Paul....... (Thorns in the OT represent folks that oppose)

Paul then goes to say.......... I would rather be weak in something so that the Power of Christ (The anointed one and his anointing) can rest on me......

Later Paul writes........ I can do all things through Christ that strengthens.......

Paul never factored in the Grace and anointing, but just went in with his vast revelation and knowledge.

The lesson is........ no matter how great and proficient we are at something, always rely on God to make it much better.

Blessings.
 
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I apologize for dragging up such and old thread, but when I read this, I could not help but respond. People always approach this text trying to figure out what Paul's thorn in the flesh was like it is some great and profound mystery. Usually, they end up talking about everything but the context of the statement in 2 Cor 12. Now, I am not going to sit here and tell you I have all the answers to this question but, I would like to examine this "thorny" text for just a moment. If you will indulge me with your patience for a moment, allow me to present this for your consideration.

Let us open up the context of chapters 11 and 12.

The context is Paul's defense of his apostleship. If one is able to boast according to the standard of the flesh, then he has more reason to boast than anyone else and he begins to compile a list of reasons to prove why this is true, 11:16-28. Beginning in verse 22, he says, "Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I." These are all genealogical factors that he has in common with all other Jews. Then in verse 23, he begins to set forth a list of comparisons in which he is proven to excel above them all. "Are they servants of Christ? (I speak as if insane) I MORE SO; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death."

24. “Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes.”
25. “Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.”
26. “I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren;
27. “I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure.”
28. “Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches. From 11:29 through 12:8 he stresses the fact that these are all things that Paul regards as weaknesses of the flesh. These are things that are hard to endure and that he had the right to boast in the fact that he has suffered in the flesh more than all of them. In 12:6 he says that he does not wish to boast in these things, "... but I refrain from this, so that no one will credit me with more than he sees in me or hears from me."

In verse 7, he gives the paramount reason for his capacity for boasting which was "the surpassing greatness of the revelations." To keep him from boasting and exalting himself in this, he was given a "thorn in the flesh." The "thorn" represents something that is external to the flesh but that is intrusive to the flesh. In spite of his petition from God to remove it, God says "My grace is sufficient for you." It is not through Paul's own power that he is able to endure these suffering that have been imposed upon his flesh (not to mention the psychological stress that accompanies these types of experiences), it was the grace of God that enabled him to endure them and to continue to preach in spite of them. The connecting statement that links all of this together is in verse 10 when he says, "THEREFORE." Whatever he says next is rooted in everything he has said up to this point and he connects it to the thorn that was given him. "Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. Why? Because "when I am weak THEN I am strong." The thorn made him weak. The grace made him strong. NOW, he is able to rejoice in his sufferings - in his thorn.

So, because of the "the surpassing greatness of the revelations," Paul was allowed to suffer all of these hardships - thorn in the flesh - in order to keep him from exalting himself. One is not so likely to be self-exalting when he is having the hide stripped from his back with a scourge or having to go hungry or floating around in the sea or having his bones broken from being beaten with rods or lying in a pit left for dead after having been stoned. God allowed these things so that Paul would learn humility in spite of the exalted status that God had granted him. Remember what God told Ananias in Acts 9:16 "I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake."

Paul's problem with his eyesight has been a favored speculation even among many commentators. We do know from Gal. 6:11 that Paul seems to have had some type of deficiency with his eyes but, the nature of what the thorn was seems very clearly defined in the context of 2Cor. 12. Paul uses three different descriptive terms all of which refer to the same thing. He calls it a 'thorn in the flesh', a 'messenger from Satan', and 'my weaknesses'. These weaknesses are not of a singular nature. They are described as insults, distresses, persecutions, and difficulties all of which are in the plural. I do not doubt that his seeming deficiency with his eyes would certainly fall within this menagerie of weaknesses. The 'thorn in the flesh' is simply a descriptive term which he employed to describe a host of things he was called to endure for the cause of Christ.

Perhaps a more intriguing question would be this. How was Paul able to endure such infamous treatment without being psychologically overwhelmed? I believe he answers this in Phil 4. Here, Paul opens a line of reasoning in verses 4-7 that presents us with a formula for psychological soundness. He begins by linking one's potential for psychological soundness to the unseen.

"Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

These non-context dependent character traits are critical elements for the psychological soundness of the believer. The circumstances of one's life are to have no influence upon the state of mind of the Christian.
1. Rejoice in the Lord always.
2. Display a gentle spirit.
3. Be anxious for nothing.
4. Be thankful
The appeal in these matters is to the unseen world - "Let your requests be made known to God." The result then is the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." How is it possible? In verse eight Paul provides us with eight non-natural variants that we regard as virtues.

"Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things."

These eight variants are a set of representational controls that serve as the foundation for psychological soundness. These representational controls allow us to govern our behavior in a way that is completely contrary to our circumstances. I call these non-natural variants because:
1. These things do not originate from the natural world of human experiences.
2. They are external to ALL circumstances.
3. These variants proceed from the character of God.
4. These are not relevant to time nor are they controlled by time.
5. These variants allow us to bear up even under the most difficult of circumstances. I call these circumstances an "experiential index". An experiential index is a catalog of events in a person's life that are limited to time. In 2Cor. 11:23-28, Paul rehearses for us some of the events in his life that make up his experiential index.

"...In far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep. I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers, dangers from my countrymen, dangers from the Gentiles, dangers in the city, dangers in the wilderness, dangers on the sea, dangers among false brethren; I have been in labor and hardship, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. Apart from such external things, there is the daily pressure on me of concern for all the churches."

In looking at this list of circumstances it is important we understand that these never represent a closed system. It is in the midst of all of these experiences that Paul says in Phil 4:11, "I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am." Contentment in the mindset of horrific catastrophic or even life-threatening circumstances is a learned behavior. When Paul says he has leaned to be content in the midst of these experiences it is obvious that this knowledge is not obtained on the basis of his experiential index. He did not learn contentment from his sufferings. He learned it through the exercise of these non-natural virtues. All of the difficulties he rehearses are things that were imposed on his body yet, these things are regarded by Paul as non-determinate. In other words, he does not allow them to control his mind. He does not allow them to determine his behavior or his psychology. Of course, these are pragmatic experiences imposed on his flesh that cannot simply be ignored and demand a psychological response. What must govern the Christian's response to his experiences of whatever kind are those non-natural variants that are stronger than the experiences themselves. These are things that strengthen the inner man and enable us to rejoice even in the mist of such difficulties. How does Paul learn contentment in the midst of such experiences? By cultivating a mind that is governed not by the circumstances or their effects on one's life, but by the representational controls given in Phil. 4:8 and 2Cor 4: 4-7 where he adds to this list such virtues as endurance, knowledge, patience, and kindness. Paul regards all these hardships as nothing more than ephemeral concerns. In other words, these are things that are limited to time. They are temporary experiences that exist only briefly. Paul says in 2Cor. 4:17 that these things are but “light momentary afflictions” that are not even worthy to be compared with the eternal weight of glory. This is an extraordinary statement. Such experiences are by design intended to destroy the outer man and unless representational controls are in place that will allow us to properly contextualize these experiences, the inner man will also be overwhelmed and destroyed.

Paul says in Phil 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” This is a statement that is very often taken out of its context and much abused. This statement is linked to the things Paul says he has learned. What has he learned? He has learned to:
1. Rejoice
2. Not be anxious
3. Be thankful
4. Get along with humble means
5. Live in poverty
6. Live in abundance
7. Be filled
8. Be hungry
9. Endure need
10. Be content in all things. Why? Because he can do all these things through Christ who strengthens him. "Do all things" is contextual to all the things he has learned to endure.

I know this is a rather brief exegesis of this text and I certainly do not deem it to be infallible. It is possible that I have missed it but, it seems to me that Paul has been very clear in explaining the nature of the thorn that he had been given. If anyone has a better exegesis of this text than this, I am certainly open to correction.
 
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