Posted by: the warrioress | January 27, 2013

My Thorn in the Flesh

I’m dealing with a thorn in the flesh that increasingly frustrates me and makes me feel worn down, beaten, and overwhelmed. I’ve fought it again and again, without much success.  I don’t recall having this trouble to this extent in younger years.

“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 Cor. 12:7-10

My thorn is cursing/bad language/aka: cussing.

I don’t know why I have such a hard time getting a hold on this. It seems to become an issue when I’m pushed past my endurance/patience. I can feel my blood pressure beginning to rise. I know when I’m in danger of losing it and engaging in this ugly talk. Immediately, I began calming thoughts to myself, prayer, and try to focus on the fruits of the spirit — specifically self control. Sometimes these things help, but sometimes they absolutely do not. Sometimes I just plain fail miserably. The guilt is overwhelming each time that I fail.

I’m bothered by this in particular because of the following bible passage:

The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. – Luke 6:45

Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. Colossians 4:6

This kind of filthy talk is no longer acceptable in my life. At one time, I didn’t care what anyone thought about how I speak and didn’t believe God particularly cared either. A few years ago, though, I decided to live according to how the bible tells me to live. Now, I am committed to living a life for God, for Jesus Christ, and completely belong to my Lord and Savior. I want little more than to do His will in every aspect of my life. I don’t want to be hampered by some bad habit that doesn’t seem to want to cease. I wonder if other Christians have trouble with this, and if so, why is this so hard for me to stop doing?

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Responses

  1. Everyone struggles with some type of sin. We just have to keep working on our weak areas, but at the same time continue to serve God.

  2. Sister, I love your post. I’m always working on controlling what comes out of mouth. I wish I could control a few of my dirty looks while I’m at it. LOL Don’t be discouraged, change takes time and Christ – remember He does the work – we just surrender. Awareness is the first step and according to your post you’ve made it.

    Lord, my friend Warrioress cries out to you. Send your cleansing Spirit to purify our hearts and mouths. With you all things are possible. Thank you Lord and Warrioress for the reminder to be a reflection of you. Amen

  3. You are not the only one…I have and still do struggle with this myself. Most of us will not admit it though!
    The good part of this is that it bothers you, I feel terrible when I do this…

    Blessings
    Greg

  4. You are on the right path with prayer and relying on the Holy Spirit for help. It can be frustrating when thorns of the flesh flare up, but, as the Bible says, it’s at those times when God’s grace is perfected in our lives. So don’t beat yourself up. Just keep leaning on the Lord. 🙂

  5. Turning away from the old nature is a slow process. God knows your heart! Don’t fret.

  6. We all have our issues. Mine happens to be anger driven by stress. It has everything to do with our being broken people in need of a savior; one that happened to love while we were yet sinners. So he knows all about you and me.
    Paul struggled with his thorn in the flesh, just ask Barnabas, or his nephew. Anger. Anger stemming from his zealous drive to be the best had him killing Christians for a while.
    Do I wish to live in it. Heck no, and hey I can cuss with the best of them if I want to, but it makes for a lousy witness. One of my worst moments at work ended with me spewing out obsenities at a manager. They fire you over stuff like that, no matter what a jerk they happen to be. The next morning at church God showed me a vision and told me that he would take care of the situation, which he did, and I am still there. God told me what would take place with precision.

    I think I have learned to live this way, if not I am learning it. God is full of mercy and compassion, and once again, loved me before I ever knew him.

    This mornings men’s bible study we were reading this:
    John 3:33 KJV He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
    Suddenly it hits me. John the baptist said this, long before Paul ever came up with the concept. God has set his mark upon us. God is true. I know that without a doubt, therefore it is easy to have faith in my eternal security, Besides where else would I go; no one else has the words of life.

    Look at what Paul said years later.
    Galatians 2:20 MKJV I have been crucified with Christ, and I live; yet no longer I, but Christ lives in me. And that life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith toward the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself on my behalf.

    You are not owned by your bodies broken ways. Sure they give you trouble once in a while, but the life that I now live I live by faith TOWARD the Son of God.
    God is good and you will be fine.

  7. Hmm… I never would have guessed you had this struggle. Thanks for opening up and sharing! That’s an important part of working these things out. Also, wanted to mention that it sounds like the underlying problem really is rage or anger. That’s probably the real problem that needs to get straightened out. Maybe you’ve already thought of that but that’s what came to my mind when I read this post. I have believe that cussing is what happens when you just don’t have strong enough words to express the rage you feel. That rage is crazy rage and God’s grace is sufficient for that too! As you know, His love for you is immense and He would love to help you out with this! Take care!

  8. God looks at the heart, and in your heart you don’t want to swear, so there is no need to feel guilty. I’m sure you are still forgiven and that it’s not going to get between you and God.

    But, if for your own sake you want to stop, you could try rewarding yourself every time you catch yourself, or do a penance (stand on one leg for a minute – something that makes you laugh) if you fail. Or sometimes the best thing is to ignore something and it goes away. Or simply make up your own words that are not ‘cussing’ “Oh flummock”.

  9. Can I preach?
    Number one: what you describe is not biblically called thorn in the flesh but work of the flesh.

    A thorn in the flesh, you need God to do something about it but a work of the flesh, you do something about it.

    Number one is repent. Note that I didn’t say feel guilty. You can’t force yourself into change by the depth of you guilt feeling. This world is full of guilt feeling that never leads to change. Repentance is not general regret. You need to isolate that failing of the flesh at a particular point in time complete with gps coordinates ofthe event of that sin (yes call it by its name- sin) and repent of it. You cannot repent of a chracter flaw. It is too general.

    Number two is confess. Lord I am sorry for the way I spoke to A at around 7pm, please forgive me and cleance me from this unrighteousness.

    I believe that last phrase is the key to the change. When you say you struggle, it shows you have not laid the responsibility of change in your life at the feet of Christ. It’s not about your self will, its about the power in the blood to cause change, which is still living and active. (1John 1:7-9)

    Does that mean you won’t fall into it again? Maybe not.

    Then why all this stress?

    At least you have followed the bible. And I believe God is true to his word and would clean you from that unrighteousness that no amount of self help or self recrimination can do, so that all praise will go to him.

    However you need to be consistent in the application of that principle. Even if ten times a day, showing that you really depend on God and not on yourself.

  10. Prayer always helps. So does engaging the brain before engaging the mouth. Stop and think brfore you respond.

    Ed

  11. Swearing can actually be helpful 🙂

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1913773,00.html

  12. My dear sister… as someone else already pointed out this is not a thorn in the flesh.
    This is what every believer lives with… several residual sinful habits. Some may be worse (from man’s point of view), but in God’s eyes it is sin. It looks like you’ve made the first step in overcoming this cussing thing–recognition and feeling ‘guilt’ or better and more truly said, feeling displeased. Just yesterday I spoke to someone regarding an attitude issue that kept repeating in her life. I will share with you what I told her.

    First is whatever sin we have is covered in the blood, but we must continual throughout our walk with the Lord repent… repentance draws us closer to Him. If we recognize the sin immediately and repent immediately… it is forgiven, gone, as far as the east is from the west.
    Guilt on the other hand is a tactic of the enemy to make feel lousy, think how awful we must be which actually pushed us further from our Father and Lord Jesus and is a waste of time.
    If you read Paul’s words in Romans 7: 14-25 you’ll see what I mean.
    Never forget honey, we are still carnal being… and we still have an internal struggle with the flesh.
    Praying this helps you sweetie! Don’t let the enemy beat you up!
    Stephanie

  13. You are so awesome for sharing this! Thanks for “keeping it real.”

  14. You will never be able to overcome this through your own strength. Remember what Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:10, “Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power”. God knows your heart, he knows you want to overcome this area of your life, so repent and give it over to him and stop trying to do it on your own. Take heart my sister!

  15. You have been forgiven of all sins, so while any cursing might point to an area where you are lacking patience, you have already been forgiven. Do not focus on trying to stop or curb the bad behavior as you have been freed from the legalism of trying to be good and not sin. Instead, the goal is to focus on the good attitude towards people and while it is hard, remember that you are starting from a place in Christ so it is already won.

  16. Kerry,

    Your comment bears repeating!

    “You have been forgiven of all sins, so while any cursing might point to an area where you are lacking patience, you have already been forgiven. Do not focus on trying to stop or curb the bad behavior as you have been freed from the legalism of trying to be good and not sin. Instead, the goal is to focus on the good attitude towards people and while it is hard, remember that you are starting from a place in Christ so it is already won.”

    I really like what you said here; it takes away the guilt when I fail. The legalistic approach is something that will beat me down. Thank you so much!

  17. Diana,
    I love your comment as well, sis. I will stop with the guilt trip on myself and relax. God will help me get a handle on this one way or another. 🙂

  18. Valerie,

    You are so welcome.. it helped me too, to share it.

  19. Stephanie said:

    “Guilt on the other hand is a tactic of the enemy to make feel lousy, think how awful we must be which actually pushed us further from our Father and Lord Jesus and is a waste of time.
    If you read Paul’s words in Romans 7: 14-25 you’ll see what I mean.
    Never forget honey, we are still carnal being… and we still have an internal struggle with the flesh.
    Praying this helps you sweetie! Don’t let the enemy beat you up!”

    Steph, thank you so much. Yes, the guilt is a tactic of the enemy and sometimes that enemy makes me think that I really suck as a Christian. I really appreciate these comments from all of you here; they get my head back on straight!

  20. Keith,

    Swearing is helpful in order to relieve the stress at the moment and take a moment to just express myself so that I can cool down, but I prefer a more ladylike, Christ-like way of doing so, you know? It’s inappropriate for my young teenage daughter to hear and watch, too. Thank you for this unique way of seeing cursing though.

  21. Ed,

    Stopping and thinking does not appear to work; sometimes I get really angry and just go off. I will continue to strive for this, though. 🙂

  22. Kayode Crown said:

    “At least you have followed the bible. And I believe God is true to his word and would clean you from that unrighteousness that no amount of self help or self recrimination can do, so that all praise will go to him.

    However you need to be consistent in the application of that principle. Even if ten times a day, showing that you really depend on God and not on yourself.”

    Hi Kayode!

    Thank you.. I will strive to be consistent in application of the bible to this problem. Thanks so much for helping.

  23. Minimalist Christian,

    Thanks a lot for the great ideas. I’m going to attempt to substitute something more appropriate instead of the cuss words.

    LostinPorn,

    Yeah, I have a lot of struggles I don’t always share with everyone on the blog. Some things are just …embarrassing and awkward to discuss. And yeah, rage/anger is definitely a problem. This happens when I’m being pushed to the point of fury (teen daughter driving me nuts kind of fury). Thanks, Lost, I appreciate it.

    Remso (Ozzie),

    Anger is a tough one. And yes, it does make for a lousy witness. I think God is helping me with this, but as usual, I’m not as patient with myself as I could be. Thanks, Ozzie.

    Butch,

    Love that, Butch. “Don’t fret…” Great advice! And I am thankful that God knows my heart. So thankful. (hugs)

    April,

    Thanks for understanding, hon.

    πίστις,

    I really appreciate you sharing that you struggle with this too, Greg. Glad I’m not the only one! Thanks for sharing here.

    Karen,

    Thank you for the prayer so much.

    Melissa,

    God bless and thank you for the encouragement!

  24. I remember something my Grandfather always told me – “Cursing is the mark of your ignorance of the human language. If you always do what you’ve always done – you will always get what you always got.”.
    Every now and again take a good look at something not made with hands- a mountain, a star, the turn of a stream.  There will come to you wisdom and patience and solace and, above all, the assurance that you are not alone in the world.
     Your friend,
    Ed

  25. […] My Thorn in the Flesh (lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com) […]

  26. Check out my post tomorrow (Wed). It is about breaking…… when in a trial.


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