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To Keep Us Humble

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by SueJLove, Apr 26, 2014.

  1. Saturday, April 26, 2014, 5:46 a.m. – the Lord Jesus put the song in mind, “Believe Him.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read 2 Corinthians 12:1-10 (ESV).

    Great Revelations

    Paul described here (in vv. 1-6), in detail, a vision which he had been given of the Lord fourteen years previously. He also spoke generally of visions and revelations which he had been given by the Lord, evidently over a period of time. A vision can be defined as: “something seen in a dream, trance, or ecstasy; especially a supernatural appearance that conveys a revelation” (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vision).

    A vision is a lot like a dream, only usually it takes place while the person is still awake. The person is fully conscious of what he or she is seeing, although he or she may not have immediate understanding of what the vision means. God has used, and I believe he still uses the means of dreams and visions as a way to bring revelation, i.e. to make something known to his servants with regard to personal messages, which he wishes to impart to them, or for the purpose of revealing some practical application of divine revelation, etc.

    An example of this is the vision the Lord gave to Peter of something which looked like a sheet coming down from heaven filled with all kinds of animals, reptiles and birds (See Ac. 10). The Lord instructed Peter to kill and eat, but Peter refused on the grounds of his religious upbringing, because some of these were considered unclean. Yet, the Lord Jesus had a lesson for Peter through this vision, as well as he had a mission for him, too.

    As well, the book of Acts recorded for us several of these visions that Paul had been given of the Lord. Paul had a vision in which he saw a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight (See Ac. 9:12). He also had a vision of a man from Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us” (See Ac. 16:9-10). In another vision the Lord spoke to Paul telling him to not be afraid, to keep on speaking, and to not be silent (See Ac. 18:9-10). In yet another vision Paul saw the Lord speaking. “Quick,” he said, “Leave Jerusalem immediately, because they will not accept your testimony about me” (See Ac. 22:17-21). And, one night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome” (See Ac. 23:11).

    We may not identify with Paul in this, but we may. Yet, all of us have been given natural abilities and talents, and all of us who are in Christ Jesus have been given spiritual gifts (See Ro. 12; 1 Co. 12 & Eph. 4). And, there is always a danger of becoming puffed up or conceited or perhaps to even take credit ourselves for what we have received from God.

    A Messenger of Satan

    So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. ~ Vv. 7-10

    Because of all these great revelations and visions given to Paul, from the Lord, the Lord also gave him a “thorn” in his flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass (or torment) him. There has been much dispute among theologians concerning the source of this thorn as well as the nature of the thorn. We can speculate on the nature of the thorn, but I believe the source is quite evident. Only God had the power to give Paul such a thorn, and only God would have the purpose in mind of giving Paul the thorn in order to keep him from becoming conceited.

    Whatever your beliefs on this may be, what is clear is that God not only allowed Paul to suffer in this way, but when Paul prayed for relief of his suffering, the Lord Jesus did not chose to heal or to deliver Paul out of his suffering, but rather he told him that HIS grace was sufficient (enough) to help him in his time of need and to see him through this difficulty. Although God chose not to deliver Paul from the thorn, he would deliver him through the trouble, as Paul learned to put his trust and his dependency in the Lord for all his needs.

    Our Suffering

    The scriptures have much to say to us on this subject of suffering. For one, as servants of the Lord, we are to share in the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming like him in his death (See Phil. 3:10). We are to rejoice in our sufferings with the knowledge that suffering produces endurance (or perseverance), and endurance produces character, and character produces hope (See Ro. 5:3-4). We share in Christ’s sufferings, too, so through Christ we share in his comfort, so that we can comfort others with the comfort we received from him (See 2 Co. 1:1-11).

    As well, our suffering has a purpose in that it teaches us to not rely upon ourselves (our flesh), but on God (See 2 Co. 1:9). It has also been granted to us by God that we should suffer for the sake of Christ (See Phil. 1:28-30). We suffer the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that we may gain Christ and be found in him (See Phil. 3:7-9). Jesus learned obedience through the things which he suffered (See Heb. 5:8). And, we have been called to suffer for doing good and to endure it, such as Christ did. Thus he set the example for us so that we might follow in his steps (See 1 Pet. 2:20-22).

    God shows his grace to us in many forms when we call upon him in our suffering. For one, he comforts us with his love. He does humble us so that we do not get puffed up and conceited, and so we grow in our compassion for others who are also going through difficult times. He teaches us things he wants us to learn, and he helps us to grow to maturity in him through the things that we suffer. He gives us his peace. He teaches us to trust in him, to believe in his promises, and to rest in his love. We learn to rely upon him and not on our own resources so that our dependency rests in him and not in our own strength, and so we operate in the power and strength of God in our service to him and not in our own flesh. For, only his divine power has the ability to effect real heart transformation in people’s lives.

    Unanswered Questions

    Sometimes in life we have questions for which we don’t have answers. Sometimes we pray and we can’t hear God speaking, i.e. he seems silent concerning our requests. And, so we cry out for him to hear us, even though we know he does, and for him to answer. Yet, he doesn’t always give us the answers we desire, nor does he explain all of his ways to us. He just says “Trust me.” “Believe me.” “Rest in me.” And, he reminds us that his ways are greater than our ways and his thoughts greater than our thoughts, i.e. he doesn’t think and work like we do. He has purposes for what we go through in this life beyond our human comprehension. We may even desire the right things, but he may have planned for us to go through injustice or heartache, and so he asks us to just trust him that he knows best.

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight. – Pr. 3:5-6 (NIV)

    Believe Him / An Original Work / July 15, 2013

    My heart cries: Lord, won’t You hear me
    Seeking You for the answers
    To my heartache and questions
    I have concerning my life?
    Speak, Lord, to me right now.


    “Oh, dear one, why don’t you trust Me
    With your life’s circumstances?
    Give your all on the altar
    In submission of your will
    To My purpose for you.


    “Surrender your life completely
    To your Lord and your Savior.
    He has all things planned for you
    For His glory and honor.
    He’ll work all things for good.


    “Believe Him. He will fulfill all
    Of His promises to you
    For your life and your future.
    Trust Him. Rest in His love.
    He’ll give you peace from above.”


    http://originalworks.info/believe-him/
     
  2. Sue, God just wanted me to encourage you today for your faithfulness to His word. I want to thank you personally for your diligence and time spent in the word. May you be truly blessed filled with fruit overflowing, knowing the riches of God's love, joy, and peace.
     
    Mitspa likes this.
  3. Glory to God! Only by his grace am I able to be faithful. Thank you so much for your encouraging words.
     
  4. Really good stuff Sue... I love your devotion to Our Beloved Christ! Keep posting the saints are listening:)
     
  5. Praise Jesus! Glory to God! Thank you so much for your kind, thoughtful and encouraging words. They mean so much.
     

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