In Judges 6:11-12, Gideon questions God when God is calling him to step into his destiny as a warrior.

All the things you don’t like about yourself start to come out when God is asking you to step into your calling. These negative parts of our character can be referred to as “thorns in the flesh.”

In 2 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul talks about the thorn in his flesh: “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.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” Paul says the thorn is a messenger from Satan sent to torment him, but God has used it to show his strength and glory.

Gideon is a case study in walking through life with thorns. His thorn is his insecurity about his family and birthplace. What is your thorn?

Different Types of Thorns

  1. Behavior: when you have that one behavior you don’t like that always comes out and seems to be out of your control.

  2. Physical Health can become a limitation that we allow to define us.

  3. Failures: Our past has a way of creeping into our futures. Satan is an expert at bringing up our past. The past is a fact, but it doesn't mean its the truth. I made that decision then, but that doesn’t mean I have to keep making it.

  4. Lack: A deficit in finances, skills or appearances can make us feel like we can’t step into God’s calling on our lives.

  5. Personalities can be a thorn.

  6. Appearances can be a thorn.

  7. Strengths: Many times our weaknesses are wrapped up in strengths because they create a sense of independence from Jesus.

Thorns manifest themselves in behavior in the way that we walk through life.

Ways that Thorns Manifest:

  1. Fear: Gideon was hiding when he received his first assignment from God. God knew he was struggling with his thorn and allowed him to bring friends along with him to carry out his mission.

  2. Doubt: Gideon constantly needed more signs and validation from God to prove that each word and each task was from the Lord.

  3. Shortcuts: Gideon takes a shortcut to get to victory by calling in an army from another tribe to help finish his battle. When the battle is won, Gideon doesn’t take credit for it or ascribe it to God because he has brought in another party to whom he gives the credit instead.

  4. Settling: The Israelites ask Gideon to become king, but he steps back and says that someone else should rule. He settles into a place that was never meant for him to settle.

A unicorn is a horse that is identified by its thorn.

Gideon was called and destined to lead but he wore his thorn instead and was identified by it. Ultimately Gideon gave into his fear and built an altar to Baal. (Judges 9:33). Gideon’s attitude toward God with his thorn was, “If you’re not gonna take it from me; I’m just gonna be it.”

This is not the first or last time the enemy tried to use a thorn to destroy someone. Those thorns that Satan meant to destroy Jesus became the crown that made him King of kings and Lord of lords.

Our flesh and spirit are constantly in a struggle: we need to tap into a Spirit greater than ours to get the victory that Christ has already won.

“So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Galatians 5:16-17

The very thing that is the weakest in your life is the thing God wants to use for his glory.


Jesus, help us to walk in the Spirit so that we can live in freedom from our thorns. Please take our places of weakness and use them for your glory. We surrender all to you! In Jesus’ name. Amen.