Do You Have "A Thorn In The Flesh?"
"...to seek one’s own glory is not glory." Proverbs 25:27 When a person seeks recognition for himself, that very act removes the worth of it. And this is extremely difficult to resist doing. I listen to many interviews with people who have risen to prominence, and to a man they cannot cease to say, "as I said in my book..." over and over again until we're weary of hearing it. They may have gained fame and fortune because of their book or whatever work they've accomplished, but this kind of "glory" is worthless in the eyes of God. The very act of trying to bring glory to oneself makes the glory worthless. "But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’" Matthew 23:5-7 In other words, they dress richly, have their hair done just so, and they seek a name, they seek to be admired and honored before men and to be called "doctor so-and-so." vs:12 "...whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." God hates pride. It was what brought down Lucifer, the greatest of all the angels, now known as Satan. Of all the souls of men in hell, most of them were brought there by pride. Pride is the great destroyer. It drives men to sin. It gives men a false impression of themselves. Who can resist pride? Only those who know the Word of God and heed its many warnings against it. "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5 Any follower of Jesus Christ is going to find that the Lord will not allow pride in their lives. Look at the great apostle Paul. He says he was given "a messenger of Satan" to afflict him, something he called "a thorn in the flesh." And he said he was given that to keep him from pride. He was the author of a large part of the New Testament, and he was the founder of many churches throughout the Middle East and Europe. Oh HOW that could have made him proud. But God protected him by sending this affliction which he does not name, but which he said was grievous and was meant to keep him from pride. Read about it in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Paul goes on to say: "Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." Do you have an affliction? Do you have troubles? Sometimes, certainly not always but sometimes, afflictions are given to believers to keep them from pride. Men strive against these afflictions to no avail, not realizing that they are God's protection from the destroyer called pride. Once God confirms to a person that, like Paul, the affliction is God's protection against pride, then the believer must stop striving against it and actually be thankful for the loving protection of God who keeps them from destruction. Don't fight it, believer. Accept it and go on. There is great power in surrender. Surrender brings peace to one's soul and makes him usable to God in a way nothing else can.