Nearly everyone has heard or witnessed dramatic changes in the behavior and character of people who accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Stories of hopeless alcoholics losing all desire to drink; addictions to pornography and drugs are eliminated; life-threatening cancers are healed. The stories are real and I am no exception.
God did change me when I confessed and repented of my sins and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. For decades, I suffered from allergic rhinitis. Only when I prayed to God to heal me did I find relief. The same happened with my GERD or gastrointestinal reflux. Many other behaviors, for which I previously harbored carnal desires for, were now eliminated. Yet, others still remained and I still struggled with these sins, behaviors that I would have gladly traded to be healed rather than my allergic rhinitis or GERD. Why did God take away some of my sins and desires but allowed others to remain? The Apostle Paul asked God the same question.
So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave 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 of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10 (ESV)
For much of his ministry, Paul suffered from an affliction, either spiritual, physical, or both. Although he pleaded with Jesus to remove this affliction, Jesus’ answer to Paul realigned his faith. Instead of pleading God to take it away, he now boasted of his weakness and affliction knowing that it was proof that God was working in his life.
My faith continually needs to be realigned with God’s will. It is my persistent arrogance that I would not be content with being healed of one affliction but left with others. In His mercy, God allowed some of my sinful behaviors to remain so that I may learn of the true power of God in my life. It is a painful process but slowly, He is transforming and conforming me to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ.
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.