Today I wanted to share with you some teaching on the meaning of Paul’s thorn in the Flesh. The number of times I hear people assume that Paul had a sickness that God wouldn’t heal.
If you believe this, then you will always doubt God for your healing.
The God who is Jehovah Rapha, who healed the multitudes, opened the eyes of the blind and raised the dead, yet in this case he refuses to heal his son Paul?
In this post I hopefully will give you a little insight into the Biblical meaning of Paul’s thorn in the flesh, using the Bible as proof.
I can say with absolute certainty that PAUL’S THORN IN THE FLESH WAS A PERSON and NOT any kind of illness or disability.
If the Truth sets us free, then believing a lie keeps us bound.
Let’s dig deeper.
THORN IN THE FLESH: BIBLICAL MEANING
The apostle Paul had a ‘thorn in the flesh’ that He asked God to remove 3 times.
And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me.
2 Cor 12:7-8
As I’m sure you’re aware, God replied that ‘His grace is sufficient’.
Christians have wrongly taken this to mean that whatever we go through, the grace of God is a greater gift than the healing. That we are meant to endure the suffering, and receive empowerment to rise above the circumstance.
- Does God give us His grace? Yes of course.
- Does He give us the empowerment to rise above the natural circumstance? Yes He does that too.
But when it comes to healing; it glorifies God far more to receive a miracle healing. Why? Because Jesus died for us to receive that healing.
It does not glorify God for us to be sick.
Please don’t misunderstand me, I know God uses people with disabilities massively to further His kingdom. But that doesn’t mean that it’s His will for them to be ill.
How can we believe that Jesus died for our healing yet believe that God chose to not deliver Paul from a physical affliction?
This mindset makes no sense.
It’s a contradiction.
It’s like saying “Jesus died for some people to be healed….. just not Paul.” That doesn’t make sense does it?
PAUL’S THORN IN THE FLESH: DEFINITION
I think the problem lies with the modern day meaning of a thorn in the flesh.
These days, we often use the phrase ‘a thorn in the flesh’ or perhaps ‘a thorn in my side’ meaning something that is unpleasant, an irritant or annoying. Which could actually be anything.
Roadworks, traffic jams, noisy neighbours, a snoring husband, the colleague at work….an illness..
This is not the bible definition of a thorn in the flesh. The Old Testament refers to a thorn in the flesh, each time, meaning the enemies of Israel.
But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land, those you allow to remain will become ….. thorns in your sides.
…the LORD your God will no longer drive out these nations from before you. But they shall be …. scourges on your sides and thorns in your eyes…
Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they shall be thorns in your side…
These passages clearly show that the Biblical meaning of a thorn in the flesh/side/eyes…, is referring to individuals.
It’s important for us to use the Bible to translate the Bible and not our modern day interpretations. So when Paul asked God to remove His thorn 3 times, He was asking God to remove either a person or persons from his life.
Paul’s thorn was a person.
MODERN DAY THORNS
I remember having an issue with a neighbour. I prayed and prayed that God would remove him from the street. God didn’t remove him.
Instead, he used him to change me. I became more tolerant, patient and gracious towards this man and his situation.
Likewise, I had a woman in my life who I wished would disappear. I’m sure I asked God several times for God to plant her somewhere else.
I wonder if you’ve had a similar experience?
Are there people in your life you wish weren’t? Maybe it’s your mother-in-law? A neighbour or someone in church?
These are the people who God uses as sandpaper. They are irritants, but God refines you because of them.
In other parts of the world, our brothers and sisters in Christ are enduring massive persecution. I completely recognise that the most persecution I’m ever likely to endure is some kind of ridicule.
Here’s the thing, we’re not redeemed from persecution.
Paul wanted God to remove his persecutor, the thorn in his side, to which God told him ‘His grace is sufficient’.
Jesus did not die for you or I to be set free from persecution.
It is so imperative you understand that the apostle Paul did not have a physical illness because if we really believe that God refuses to heal Paul, then it sheds a whole lot of doubt on our healing.
We want to eliminate this doubt as much as possible.
God wants you well.
If something goes wrong here in the natural, let’s not interpret this as proof of God’s will but rather proof that His will doesn’t automatically land in a person’s lap.
We are not living in heaven and using Paul’s thorn in the flesh as evidence that God doesn’t want people healed is unfair on Jesus.
What would your world look like if you eliminated the doubt that Paul’s Thorn was a sickness?
Don’t just take my word for it, study the above verses yourself. Jesus death and resurrected was as much for the healing of our bodies, as salvation.
Let’s honour him by believing the Truth. Paul’s thorn in the flesh was a person.
God wants you well.
I hope this sets someone free today.
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