PAUL WAS DEMONIZED (2 Corinthians – 5)
Paul shares part of his own testimony about God’s grace when he writes his second letter to the Corinthians. He tells about his own personal battle with demons. “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. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 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. 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” (2 Corinthians 12:7-10).
Clearly, believers can be attacked by demons, for Paul says his battle was with a “messenger” (literally ‘angel’) of Satan. But God was in control and, like with Job, allowed this only for His glory and Paul’s growth. God is more concerned in making us what we need to be than giving us what we want to have – a nice, easy life.
LESSON FOR TODAY 1: Sometimes God has a greater purpose than casting out every demon as soon as we pray. Sometimes complete deliverance never comes, like with Paul in this passage. Paul testifies God then provides the grace needed to withstand. God wants us to learn to depend on Him (Psalm 119:59,92). Of course, if the demonic opening is allowed to continue then the demonizing will continue, too (Psalm 94:12-16; 81:11-14).
LESSON FOR TODAY 2: God does not want us to know what Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was, just that it was exceedingly painful and that he really wanted freedom from it. God allows different ‘thorns’ in each of our lives for He knows what we need to keep coming back to Him. If you haven’t been healed (spiritually, emotionally or physically) that isn’t because of lack of faith on your part, but because it is God’s perfect will for you, your growth and your testimony.
LESSON FOR TODAY 3: Sometimes God isn’t saying no, He just wants us to persevere. Paul did that when he prayed 3 times. Never quit after the first or second try. Deliverance is a process He uses to teach us things about Himself and ourselves. He wants us to persevere in faithfulness to Him throughout for that helps us learn to depend on Him and trust Him. It’s also part of the way He works to make us more like Jesus.
Victory usually comes gradually, as we learn to fight and take back ground that was given to the enemy. When the Jews entered the Promised Land under Joshua, God gave them victory, but one battle at a time, one generation at a time. He didn’t give all the land to them at once. He wanted them to learn to fight, to keep trusting Him, to develop patience and perseverance. What was true of them physically is true of us spiritually. So, don’t give up. Persevere. It may be hard to see progress but remember – there is improvement. Look back at your life and you’ll see improvement in the past to the present.
You certainly wouldn’t want to go back! Progress is slow but steady, like the story of the tortoise and the hare. Also be encouraged because when things get hard it’s obvious the enemy is throwing everything at you, he can. That means this is as bad as it gets, this is all he can do. If he could do more he would. While this is bad, knowing it is as bad as it gets and that it will gradually but certainly get better helps. It takes time. God is interested in the process you are going through as you grow, not just the final product. You do the same thing with your children as you help them grow and mature. He wants you to learn trust, perseverance and faithfulness. You need to learn to use your sword, the Word of God. You must learn to hear His voice and follow Him.
Keep faithfully pursuing the Lord in whatever you are going through. Ask others to pray for you. Remember to focus on Jesus, not your problems or the demonic. Praise and worship Him. Memorize Scripture to quote when tempted/attacked. That is VERY important!
How are you at persevering? On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate yourself? How would God rate you? What can you do to improve your rating? Start doing it today!