“For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”
– 2 Corinthians 12:6-10
In life, there’s a level of resistance that each of us must face. This resistance is sure to test everything that you have within you, every confession you’ve made about you, every belief you aspire to, and every dream, vision or goal you have for you. Believe it or not, this resistance, if handled properly, has in it the ability to strengthen your resolve, revitalize your cause, erase the narrative of what was, and even further your understanding of the clause in the midst of your momentary pause. What clause do your speak of Kean? The clause that God gave each and every one of us for when we are faced with an insurmountable amount of resistance: “What shall we say then to these things? If God Be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).
I know. This is the Christian’s go to scripture whenever times seem to get a little rough. It is supposed to be, and for that matter all scripture should be. However, the issue that we face when getting God’s word to work in our life and for our life is that we don’t read it in its entirety to ensure we are properly applying it. No, we look for the specific versus that applies to us and go from there. I have had people come to me and ask why their trials and tribulations seem to be getting the best of them. They are quick to respond to themselves by saying “I know that since God is for me no one can be against me, but it just seems…”. I simply respond by telling them that yes that is true; however, did you read the part before it about living after the flesh and having the Spirit of God in you? I don’t say this to condemn them, but I say to simply inform them that God does have standards and principles in place that must be observed in order to get Him to work in our lives. In other words, you can’t live your whole life day after day, week after week, and year after year for the flesh, then (when life gets hard) try to tell the devil if God Be for me who can be against me. Why? That scripture is for those that are His children and are in possession of His spirit within them.
In other words, you can’t live a life of pleasing your flesh daily then get mad at God because He didn’t intervene and stop the results of fleshly living from happening. I know this is considered to be fire and brimstone teaching in today’s world, but whether or not we believe it doesn’t make it any less true. However, I digress from this to move into our true focus for this week’s article, Breakthrough. Breakthrough is the result of an individual finally being able to move past the obstacles that have been set in front of or around them. Yes, there are different types of obstacles; however, the key thing that lets you know it’s an obstacle is the fact that it presents itself as a barrier seemingly preventing any progression or movement on your part. Another way to identify it as an obstacle is the amount of turmoil, affliction, and/or pain that is caused or endured as a result of said obstacle coming against you. That’s right obstacles can not only block your way, but they can also make your way as you go very painful, and for the sake of mastery, that is where our focus will be greatly centered upon. Don’t believe me? Let’s ask the one and only Apostle Paul from our text.
Paul said in order to keep him from being exalted above measure there was given him a thorn in his flesh. Then, he went on to give that thorn a name; the messenger of Satan. Not only did he know it as a thorn and identify it as a messenger of Satan, but he also gave it a job description: He said that it was sent to buffet him. Now, this is not the buffet where you go to enjoy delicious delicacies from around the country or world; instead this is when you have been chosen to be tried and tested for faith’s sake. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to buffet is to strike sharply and repeatedly. Sounds painful to me. However, that’s not the one that strengthened my resolve that there could be an obstacle that allows movement. The definition that did that for me way this one: “to make one’s way especially under difficult conditions.” So, in other words the purpose of having someone come under buffeting is to inflict so much pain that it causes not only the road ahead to seem so dreadful, but with hopes that they will eventually succumb to their affliction and turn around, give up, throw in the towel, or just ask the Lord to take them.
However, Paul did nothing of the sort. In fact, he flipped the script on the messenger of Satan, and Paul decided that he was going to find delight in, rejoice in, or basically be thankful for the thorn. I don’t know about y’all, but that is kind of puzzling to me, or at least it was. Why would anyone be thankful for going through so much pain and affliction to the point of wanting to give up life? Shout cue on the way! Oh, I’m reminded of my Savior Jesus who did the same at Calvary and before (when he was whipped with the cat-o-none tail and penetrated with the crown of thorns). Wait a minute. Did you say crown of thorns? Paul called his messenger of Satan a “thorn” in his side. Wow! Could it be when God decides that you are ready to embark on your journey of revealing His glory in and for your life, He allows or gives you thorns? You missed it! Remember I said, “Believe it or not, this resistance, if handled properly, has in it the ability to strengthen your resolve, revitalize your cause, erase the narrative of what was, and even further your understanding of the clause in the midst of your momentary pause?” Oh, so whenever God allows a thorn to be given to you, it is a sign that His glory is about to be revealed through you! That’s shouting stuff right there!
That’s why another writer writes that it was good for me that I was afflicted that I may learn thou ways. Can I bring it in the home stretch? I believe Paul was resting on a revelation He had received from God. What revelation? “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). Wait, is that another revelation that Paul has laid on us? So, not only does the thorn of affliction sent to buffet us signal to us that glory is about to be revealed through us, but now we see that God never has any intention of removing the thorn. Instead, he ensures that the thorn does not penetrate any further or deeper than we are able to withstand, thereby making the thorn bearable for us. In other words, the thorn is not meant to completely deplete or kill us; however, it is meant to apply the right amount of pressure in the right place so that when we do finally breakthrough we understand that a price was paid for this breakthrough. There was some blood shedded for this breakthrough. A cross was taken up and beared for this breakthrough. Physical pain and emotional suffering was endured for this breakthrough. Guess why? It was all so that you would not think too highly of yourself as if the breakthrough came as a result of your doing.
Can I close this thing out now? I think I can. Shout Lord Help Me Bear It! Help to bear the trials and tribulations that you see fit to allow to come to me. I understand that it’s not about me feeling good, looking good, and always being in a state of comfortability; instead, I now know that it is more so about me being able to endure the thorn as I continue to run the race set before me. Shout Lord Help Me Bear It! Help me to bear all the pain that comes as a result of said trials and tribulations. Why? For I know that it is in those trials and tribulations and pain that I may learn thou ways and thou statues as they relate to me, my purpose, my destiny, and the fulfillment of said things. Shout Lord Help Me Bear It! I don’t want to walk around complaining all the time and go around discussing my infirmities with everyone who will listen, just so that I can take part in a pity party. Instead, I need your strength, your grace, your almighty, divine, and powerful assistance to help me to keep on keeping on. Shout Lord Help Me Bear It! Lord I need you to ground me in the fact that this walk is not supposed to be a call walk, this journey is not supposed to be easy, and this discovery is not supposed to be easily obtained. I need you to stir me to the point where I say to myself (whenever it seems that things are getting a little to much for me) “Thou He slay me, YET will I trust Him!”
Can I go higher? Reach brother! I think I will! Shout Lord Help Me Bear It! Lord, it feels like I’m on the road to destruction, and the thorn that you’ve allowed to be placed in my side seems to have presented me with nothing but obstruction. However, I’m reminded of that Psalm that David wrote that says, “yay though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I shall fear no evil. For thou rod and thou staff, they comfort me.” Shout Lord Help Me Bear It! So, In Spite Of…I’ve made up my mind that I’m going to keep walking until I reach my breakthrough. I’m going to walk and endure, until I reach my breakthrough! I’m going to walk, endure, and praise until I reach my breakthrough. I’m going to walk, endure, praise, and take pleasure in my suffering until I reach my breakthrough. Why? “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Oh wait, I’m sorry Lord, but I changed my mind. I don’t just want a breakthrough, but I want glory! Glory! Glory! GLORY!
Therefore, I’m going to walk, endure, praise, and take pleasure in my suffering until I reach my breakthrough. When I reach my breakthrough, then (and only then) do I know that there is a glory being revealed in me, through me, and most certainly it’s for me! So, whatever I have to face devil, Bring it on! Whatever I have to go through devil, Being It On! Whatever you want to throw my way devil, Bring It On! I serve notice that from this day forward, In Spite Of…I Will Breakthrough!