Notes from a sermon by
Rev. Jason Rowland, Associate Pastor
Evangel Assembly of God, Valdosta, GA
Sunday PM, August 22, 2004
2 Corinthians 12:1 I must go on boasting. Although there is nothing to be gained, I will go on to visions and revelations from the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows. 3 And I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—4 was caught up to paradise. He heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. 5 I will boast about a man like that, but I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses. 6 Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say. 7 To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 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 about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Paul had been at a high point in his life because he had been in a trance and was taken up into the third heaven, but now it is a low point in Paul’s life. He has a thorn in his flesh. It was a messenger of Satan. Paul was a learned man and knew that God used the phrase "thorn in the flesh" to speak about Israel’s enemies.
Recently Jason noticed that vines were taking over his house. He saw that the thorns on these vines were a distraction to what he was really trying to do.
A messenger of Satan is the thorn in his side. A messenger had been sent by someone. The messenger had been sent to bring him down. He was laboring among thorns. It was meant to cause a distraction in his daily life. The enemy was beating him down with a weakness in his life. He asked God three times to remove it. Thorns are there to choke the life out of someone. It brings distractions in your life. The enemy comes to kill, steal, and destroy. Thorns are on plants to protect the plant. A person who has been hurt likes to hurt others. The thorn is there to protect you so that you hurt the other person before they hurt you.
When Jason was a child, he and a cousin were playing hide and seek behind the house. His cousin ran into a curtain of briars, and it stopped him cold in his tracks.
The enemy wants to stop you from your destiny. The enemy can bring some briars in your life to stop you. You must get something that will kill the roots--an herbicide. God has given us an herbicide. Jesus died on the cross so that you would have someone to kill the thorns in your side. We must stand up in our righteousness. God’s grace is sufficient for us. We are going to higher things. Don’t be distracted by these thorns.
Maybe you found out that some words were said about you. Words said about you can be a distraction. God says that in one day if you will press and press, the enemy will be defeated.
When you are weak is when God wants to “show out” and make Himself strong in your life. God has a great destiny for you; so, just press on. Thank God for the thorns because you will be stronger after pressing through the distractions in your life and getting on to the job at hand that God has given you to do. Don’t let the distractions in your life keep you from the destiny that God has for you.