2 Cor. 12:7,8.9  “… Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given 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.”

     Conceit is something I struggle with as well.  Don’t you?  Left to my own devices, my ego would inflate to the point that I would ‘rapture’ myself – hot air rises!  Paul was intensely aware of his weakness and knew its effect in his life.  Paul couldn’t deal with it and pleaded for it to be taken away.  This thorn, was something that Paul was tormented by and couldn’t manage.  If he could manage it, he wouldn’t have pleaded to be released from it.  If Paul couldn’t manage his ‘thorn’, who did?  Jesus did.   Verse 9 of this passage finishes with;  “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

     Conceit feeds pride and pride is found at the core of our self-centeredness.  The world surrounds our self-centredness in self-righteousness so attractively it is hard to see through it;  “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1 John 2:16)  The world exerts a powerful influence; “… the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.”  (2 Cor 4; 4,5)

     Paul warns Timothy of the perilous times when; “… men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” (2 Tim 3: 2-5)

    The True Gospel is preached out of humility by broken people who overcome by His power not their own.  Perfect people preach personal perfection (the essence of self-centeredness) while a voice humbled by a thorn preaches perfection through Jesus.  Listen carefully.