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Antidote for poison: Christ's strength alone

A Commentary by Constance Vanides

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." (1 Peter 5:10)

I love my roses. Their blooms are heavenly scented, a delight to view. I enjoy bringing their fragrant beauty into the house artfully arranging and combining them so they can be appreciated up close.

When winter closes in and branches are bare, even then, the challenge of that season is to prune carefully, often severely, allowing for new growth to happen as the awakening season approaches.

The work is not hard, but I do need to be careful. The flowers are gone...but thorns on the stems remain more vigorous than ever! A small prick, a scratch or two, a bit of blood drawn is tolerable, part of the demands of the work.

Earlier this year I was attacking the fallen foliage around the bushes with more vigor than usual, when the raking hand pushed right back into one of the largest of thorns! "Ouch!" The thorn dug into the back of my hand so deeply I stopped instantly with a scream! Pain continued for hours, lingering on for days after. More than that, the hand was swollen and continued in tenderness to the touch well after the doctor had examined me. There still remained a sensitivity to remind me even after the swelling finally subsided from that "thorn in the flesh".

I can now understand what the Apostle Paul may have gone through when he asked the Lord three times to remove his "thorn" from him. (2 Cor. 12:7-10) We are, in fact, attacked regularly with these poisonous spiritual "darts" of venom thrown at us by the enemy directed to our body and soul. He shoots us with pain, sorrow, grief, anguish, anxiety, woe or heartbreak. We need to learn to identify and withstand the "fiery darts of the wicked one." (Ephesians 6:16)

Our spirit is made strong as we learn to rely only on Christ, who said, "My grace is sufficient for you." (2 Cor. 12:9)

Are you able to battle with "the whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11-18), withstanding the enemy and relying on Christ's strength for you today?

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© Constance Vanides