"To keep me from being 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."
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
Conceit can take many forms depending on where we are in life. It could be our thinking that our particular behavior isn't as bad as someone else's, or saying to yourself, "I'm not the one who needs help" or even "I can do recovery on my own!"
Whatever your life situation is, when you take the attitude that you are strong enough and don't need help, you are in trouble. Most individuals I have had the privilege to work with have struggled with feeling weak and have fought the concept of admitting weakness.
Yet, here is Paul, one of the greatest influences used by God in His Church, not only admitting weakness but delighting in the fact that he sees himself as weak. It is through this portal of humility he enters into God's design and receivership of God's strength and power.
With all that Paul accomplished in his ministry, humility was his corner stone. This is a valuable lesson his thorn taught him.
Rather than asking God to fix, change, sober up, or remove the "thorn," ask Him what the thorn in your life is supposed to teach you.
This was a great email I received the other day and it fits perfectly with what I am going through right now. I am so consumed with my struggles, my weaknesses, and my imperfections that it has turned into self-pity and insecurity, which is a form of pride. Taking the example of Paul, I must look at what God is trying to teach me through these thorns, and how can I draw nearer to Him during this time? I pray all the time that I will be a better person, a stronger believer....and God is answering that prayer, just now how I wanted Him to. My challenge is to receive these weaknesses and let God move in me and change me. Take away my pride, oh Lord, and use me for Your fame alone.