Paul's comfortably in his skin and surroundings. Once we identify with Christ, are filled with God's Holy Spirit, and properly understand who we are and where we are going, we will stop hating the thorns and realize God can use the negative as well as a positive.
TS: Life deals us lots of thorns, but for the Christian it isn’t always a bad thing.
There is a process of dealing with the thorn, with life’s struggles. Let’s look at that process…
I. Accept the mystery of life’s thorn. struggle.
• Usually starts after the highest high. “Surpassing revelations”
• Then the lowest low. “messenger of Satan”
• Soon after the most challenging challenges. “3x’s prayed”
ILL: 2 deaths in a row..
APP: Life’s challenges….
1 Peter 4:12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.
14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.
15 If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. 16 However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.
The thorn, life’s challenges, or as Peter calls them, life’s “trials” are a mystery, but Peter says we should expect life’s trials and know we will be blessed because of them…
II. Allow the ministry of life’s thorn. struggle.
• Our Needs. “Grace is sufficient”
• The Lord’s deeds. “Power in weakness”
APP: Think about your needs -- The Greatness of the thorn.
When you think about God’s deeds – There’s Greaterness of grace.
1 Cor. 10: 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
III. Embrace the mastery of life’s thorn. struggle.
• Strive for the Lord’s will. “FOR CHRIST’S SAKE”
• Operate boldly in our own weakness.
- in weaknesses,
- in insults,
- in hardships,
- in persecutions,
- in difficulties.
• Walk in the Lord’s way.
For when I am weak,
then I am strong.
APP: Martha – rumatoid arthritis. Homebound, sometimes bedbound. Pad of paper. Prayer list. She was sickly but prayers trickled in from over the country.
She embraced the mastery of life's thorn!
Rm. 8: 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Joseph (OT), Job, and Jesus’ examples.
Rev. 7:13 (examine good stuff before and after) Then one of the elders asked me, “These in white robes—who are they, and where did they come from?” 14 I answered, “Sir, you know.”
And he said, “These are they who have come out of the great tribulation; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
- Accept the mystery of life’s thorn
- Allow the ministry of life’s thorn
- Embrace the mastery of life’s thorn