Paul shares part of his own testimony about God’s grace when he writes this 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: 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: 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.
(If I can answer questions or offer personal counsel, or if you would like a free copy of my Spiritual Warfare Handbook, email me at Jerry@ChristianTrainingOrganization.org or download it from http://sw.christiantrainingonline.org/. My next book, Spiritual Warfare in the Bible, which is a more advanced treatment of spiritual warfare, is also available there for free.)