You don’t have to look far before recognizing that there is something wrong with the world. Earthquakes, cancer, murder, and heartbreak reveal a truth about us. Sometimes, we are not good. There are times when the good thing looks like the impossible thing. Where our thoughts get in a fog and our instinct is to search for the nearest source of comfort.
Each and every person has something that hurts you in your core. Something that digs into your skin to the point where it surrounds your thoughts. Paul called it the thorn in his side. I think that sums up the feeling pretty well. It is annoying and you always know it’s there, yet to pull out the thorn would hurt worse and leave scars. Nobody can blame you for leaving your thorn in. It makes sense, and if it isn’t bothering others, then what’s the big deal?
Each and every thorn is different. Some people have the thorn of identity, doubt, or depression. Others have more physical thorns like porn, addiction, or gluttony. When it comes down to it, the actions are usually symptoms to something internal going on in our hearts.
The truth is that no matter what thorn you have, you will feel the sting.
What I mean by this is that you will feel the pain that comes with the thorn, but you also have to realize that you will suffer when you get to obey Christ in the midst of pain. These are two different battles and need to be treated as separate.
This is why it is so important to allow your thorn to push you closer and closer to Christ. Your mindset shouldn’t be that Jesus loves you less due to your thorn for that isn’t true. Allow the thorn to push you closer to Christ. Allow the grace of Jesus to pick you up, and let his arms be the refuge you seek in trouble. Although this sounds good on a screen, this isn’t our default setting. We feel like when the sting comes that we should run from God and find pleasure and peace somewhere else, but that is a lie. The way to escape the sting is to escape that lie. Run to Jesus in the midst of the sting.
Jesus cured the ultimate thorn of death. He solved the root problem of humanity and he offers this victory to us. As Christians, we know and partake in Christ’s victory but there are days when we sit on the sidelines of the victory parade instead of in it.
Christ’s victory over death is meant to be celebrated in community. The reason I am so in love with worship nights is that it feels like a huge victory parade with Jesus. We take an hour or two out of our day to sing praise and dance because that is what heaven is going to be like.
Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
What Paul is saying in Romans 12 is that in our own lives we have the power, through Christ, to overcome the thorn by doing good. There is a trap in this that if not warned can be dangerous. Your actions do not define you, but that doesn’t mean your actions don’t matter. Your actions matter because you matter. God has given you influence to make a positive impact by doing good.
Something to be noted is that doing good isn’t situational as much as a mindset. You must always have the mindset of love because then you can input love into the situations you are in. If you have a situational view, then you limit the love God has given you because you will overthink and hesitate when the time comes to show hard love. It naturally flows down from God and out through us. This is how we set back the powers of evil and reveal the Kingdom of God.
Jesus has brought the victory and Jesus has brought the comfort. Even in a world that looks so bad, there are glimpses of hope through the people of God. During this time of the year, it is important to be thankful for the hope we have. He is our salvation and our peace when the world demands anxiety. Be thankful for the people who have taught you about Jesus and have given you an example to follow. I pray that thankfulness will always flow from the people of God for we have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!
For Your Name is my name and my name for Your Glory,
Forever and Ever, Amen.