This post is from the revelatory teaching notes that Dr. Aikens taught in a Bootcamp. Posted by Rev. Jane Babich after attending the Bootcamp.
2 Corthinians 12:7
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.
Apostle Paul was a model of the Nazarite Leader in Christ. He was totally sold out and surrendered and bound in the spirit to a higher vow, yet grace made it that all things are lawful.
Because Paul was wise enough to consider that nothing and no one was expedient if it or they allowed themselves to be used to exert power over him than that he’d bound himself to in the spirit.
Beloveds, the higher call of leadership requires we sterizo or stick and stay with what we know is God’s will for us and, in so doing, make ourselves exclusively available to him for his use.
We do this to show others who He really is and what is His good and perfect and acceptable will is for us.
Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
And grace is still handing out supernatural strength today, according to our leadership assignment. And before we go any farther we are all leaders. We lead friends, family, co-workers, employee’s or neighbors, and the list can go on in our acts of leadership in our daily life by assignment.
This grace strength not only enables us to live our lives as lifelong Nazarites in Christ, but we’re also empowered to choose to remain in our places seated in him knowing he has all power and authority to prevent anything from taking us from him against our will.
Listen, this is true, even when our flesh causes us to feel we’ve suddenly become our own worst enemy, and if God doesn’t do something supernatural to intervene; if he doesn’t soon deliver us or in some way prevent that thing which seems to have the power to make us conform to this world because it’s been so intoxicating, enticing, alluring and beguiling enough to make us think it’s harmless and we could handle it. It is at this time that we need to back up into that “grace strength” that only comes to us as we declare again Romans 12:2, I will not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing I will discern what the will of God is, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
As a higher call leader, who is the modern-day Nazarite has to be so careful and watchful! The enemy is working despite our revelations to cause us where once we were so sure to become unsure and feel unworthy! And this is exactly what the enemy wants, so he offers us worldly beguilements and enticements, which are meant to cleave us away from our relationship with God and our Nazarite leadership vow to God.
But we also need to realize God is allowing it for a reason and yet still expects much of us as his Nazarites!
Ask Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7. Paul said, “to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by all the exceeding greatness of my revelations; I was given a thorn (a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to buffet and keep me from being excessively exalted.” Three times he said he called upon the Lord, begging him to deliver him from the thing whatever it was.
Could you not focus on what his problem was? Just remember he was given much! The actual thing which buffeted him really doesn’t matter! God doesn’t seek to change the thing that comes to defile us but change us and how we perceive and respond to it.
Focus instead on the fact that whatever it was, it made Paul feel that he was afflicted; and it made him sick and perhaps even ashamed because of this thing. Obviously, he feared that it would come between and separate him from the love of Christ and his willingness to do only for his God’s good pleasure.
2 Corinthians 12:8
Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.
But God would not remove that thing. Instead, He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient enough for you,” against any danger, any intoxicating beguilement, and it enables you to bear whatever troubles you for you see My strength and My power, not yours are perfectly fulfilled and completed so they can show themselves most effective in the midst of your weakness.
Now Paul made this experience his and our learning experience. He was so freed up and changed by this revelation that he sounds intoxicated by the foolish sounding thing he says in the next verse. But yet, it’s a powerful revelation, one in which we find the power of safety and restoration revealed from anything seeking to afflict us. Paul says I changed my focus on what I get pleasure from.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
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. 10 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
You see, as with Paul and Samson, grace gives us much that we never earned. It’s simply part of the higher call. Yet, unto whom much is given, we know much is always required.
The higher or Nazarite call makes us subject to having Satan assign some messenger to buffet us in areas where they’ve worked to uncover the weakness present in our flesh. Despite the buffeting, God still requires that we rise, to resist not in our own strength, but in the grace He gives us. God requires that we be the leader He has called us to be by remaining in our places, remaining submitted, and sterizoing as living sacrifices while He does the rest. At the same time, we give no ground, refusing to let what pleases our eye or flesh, causing us to be separated from Him.
This is the only way we’ll ever fully realize how sufficient God’s grace is in every case.
In conclusion, we must understand that this buffeting process clearly defines the Nazarite as being expected to be that higher call leader.
“I appeal to you, therefore, brethren, and beg of you given [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well-pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in his sight for you]. For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him.”
Leadership is a call we all receive, so lead, knowing you are not alone, and His Grace is sufficient always. Glory
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