September 2019 Come Follow Me Ministering – A Thorn in the Flesh
This month, the September 2019 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable talks about our imperfections from “2 Corinthians 12:5–10 – The Savior’s grace is sufficient to help me find strength in my weakness” in the “Come, Follow Me” manual and Elder Kim B. Clark’s April 2019 General Conference talk.
These ministering printables are a great way to help families incorporate the “Come, Follow Me” lessons into their own study. They are also perfect for Young Women’s, Relief Society or Sunday School.
Download September 2019 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable
Since it is September and the kids are heading back to school, I thought I would pair this heart printable with a school supply! I remember as a kid, loving those stacking pencils that you could rotate out as the lead got dull.
September 2019 Come Follow Me Ministering Printable
There Was Given to Me a Thorn in the Flesh
In 2 Corinthians 12, Paul totally flipped the way I think about my imperfections and trials. I spend a lot of time wishing my imperfections away. I am embarrassed by them, and they make me feel inadequate. And I really wish my life was perfect! I like to make plans and get things done, trials just get in my way. I have often told God that I could do so much good if He would just ease up on the trials a little.
Glory in Our Imperfections
But then I see Paul rejoicing in his imperfections and trials. Can you even imagine? Rejoicing?!? Not only does Paul not wallow in his imperfections, but he glories in them. He says, “yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.” (2 Cor. 12:5)
It almost makes you a little mad at him for having such a good attitude. But he has a really good reason. And it makes me realize that I need to change how I perceive my imperfections.
Our Weaknesses Bring Us Closer to Christ
Satan uses our weaknesses to distance us from God. He makes us feel unworthy of love. But Paul doesn’t see his weaknesses as evidence that he isn’t worthy. Paul understands that his weaknesses remind him to rely on God. His weaknesses keep him humble enough to look for God’s help.
Paul is understandably worried about pride. He has been blessed with some pretty amazing spiritual experiences. I feel pretty righteous when I don’t scream at my children for misbehaving. Can you imagine how important you would feel if you were healing people on a regular basis and receiving miraculous visions?
Paul understands that his imperfections act as the perfect pride antidote. Paul says, “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.” (2 Cor. 12:7)
Paul doesn’t share what this thorn is, but we all have our own thorns that we are intimately aware of. Maybe it is a weakness, a person, a challenge, or a trial. Or maybe all four! Maybe like Paul, we have prayed fervently for the thorn to be taken away.
Strength Made Perfect in Weakness
And God’s response to Paul applies to us all. Paul asks three times for his thorn to be taken away and God tells him, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
When we are weak, we ask for help. When we ask for help, God can step in. When God steps in, miracles happen and we strengthen our relationship with Him. Weaknesses are an opportunity to be and do more because they allow us to partner with the Lord. And the Lord is the infinite source of grace. He makes us more. He changes us. Paul takes pleasures in his infirmities, necessities, persecutions, and distress, because he knows that “for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)
I have definitely seen this in my own life. It is when the cards are stacked against me that I feel the Lord strongest in my life. If I was the superwoman I wanted to be, I can honestly say it would be a real challenge to find room for God in my life. But because I need His strength and His grace, I turn to Him over and over and over again. And it is our relationship with Him that is more important than anything else. It doesn’t matter how smart, rich, beautiful, funny, or popular we are.
Expectations to Be Perfect Now
Some complain that the church expects us to be perfect which makes us feel bad. But as I read the scriptures and messages from the apostles and prophets, I don’t see an expectation to be perfect. I see an expectation to work towards perfection by binding ourselves to God through sacred covenants. Those are two very different things. One separates us from the Lord through feelings of unworthiness. The other opens up a relationship with the Lord that brings eternal progress and happiness. Satan is pretty tricky about twisting things and will work hard to deceive us. He loves to twist righteous desires into self-defeating, personal floggings. So if any thoughts make you feel less than the daughter of God that you are, send them packing.
In the April 2019 General Conference, Elder Kim B. Clark reminds us, “None of us are perfect. Sometimes we get stuck. We get distracted or discouraged. We stumble. But if we look to Jesus Christ with a repentant heart, He will lift us up, cleanse us from sin, forgive us, and heal our hearts. He is patient and kind; His redeeming love never ends and never fails.”
This is helpful. Thank you!