Week Three – Day 5. Friday, March 24, 2017
Read 2 CORINTHIANS 4:7-11 SOAP II Corinthians 4:7 – 9
This world is very broken. We are broken. How is it that we are able to bear this brokenness without being crushed, perplexed, or driven to despair?
2 CORINTHIANS 4:7-11 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. 8 We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; 10 always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. 11 For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.
O – What a word picture this passage gives! “treasure in jars of clay!” I had to read earlier to discover what “this treasure” was…. It is in verse 6 – “6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.´ (ESV) The knowledge of the GLORY OF GOD – that light shines in us!
Clay jars were for the common people. They did not use glass, or marble, or other precious materials. Just common clay. But, it was what was inside that was precious. Whether it was light, or jewelry, or oil, the common clay jar held it. That is like us – we are “jars of clay.” But – we hold the treasure of God’s glory, of His salvation, within us. Why would God choose US – to display His glory and power and work? “To show that the SURPASSING POWER belongs to GOD and not to us.” (v7) NOT TO US. The POWER belongs to GOD.
Paul goes on to say that in this “jar of clay” we experience brokenness. It is brokenness, but not total. Whether we are afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, or struck down – it is NOT the end. It is the process. Because – we are NOT crushed, in despair, forsaken, or abandoned. God has promised to “never leave or forsake us.” He is WITH US. We live within the power that HE bestows.
Lyli Dunbar, in the LGG blog today, wrote that we may struggle in these areas:
• External Chaos: We are afflicted in every way. The pressures of life are overwhelming.
• Internal Confusion: We are perplexed. Sometimes circumstances just do not seem to make sense.
• Undeserved Criticism: We are persecuted. We often face rejection, misunderstanding, and abuse.
• Unexpected Catastrophe: We are struck down. This wicked world wounds us, and it’s hard to keep walking.
Because of this imperfect world, and the fact that we are “jars of clay” – we DO experience these things. My mother says quite often, “God didn’t promise us easy.” But He did promise to be with us. So – despite circumstances, pressures, confusion, criticism, and even catastrophes – God is with us. Walking us “through the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23)
But why? Why do we have to struggle with these things? Why? “so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.” (II Cor. 4:10 – ESV) SO THAT – Jesus will be magnified – in us.
A – What a reading today….. thinking through the fact that God uses us, and dwells in us – broken as we are. And – all this to show His power and glory. And for Christ to be magnified in us. As I’m thinking, I’m realizing that the more that we are broken, the more that we struggle, the more that we continue on in this life as “clay jars,” the MORE CHRIST’s power can be manifest in us. Later on in the book of II Corinthians, Paul goes on to say, “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. 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.” (II Cor. 12:9, 10 – ESV)
Do I live that way? Do I allow God’s power to be made perfect in my weakness? Or, do I complain? Paul BOASTED in his weakness, SO THAT Christ’s power would rest on him. It was the realization that “I can’t do this on my own. I need Christ.” And – it isn’t being “brave” in the struggle, so that people realize our strength. It is being weak in ourselves, allowing God to demonstrate His power within us. That is the “treasure in these jars of clay.” I want to be His jar of clay today…. SO THAT the life of Jesus will be manifest” in me. SO THAT He will be glorified. SO THAT it is His light that people see, not my jar of clay.
P – Father God, live in me today. Shine Your glory out through me – this jar of clay. Bring me to the place of living in YOUR power, not mine. Help me to see beyond circumstances to Your plan and Your glory. May I not live to show off what I can accomplish, but live, reflecting Your glory through my life. And – may You be honored and glorified in me today. Amen.
Trading my Sorrows – https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=19&v=WjkI6OACI8s
I’m trading my sorrows
I’m trading my shame
I’m laying them down for the joy of the lord
I’m trading my sickness
I’m trading my pain
I’m laying it down for the joy of the lord
We say yes lord yes lord yes yes lord
Yes lord yes lord yes yes lord
Yes lord yes lord yes yes lord amen
I’m pressed but not crushed persecuted but not abandoned
Struck down but not destroyed
I am blessed beyond the curse for his promise will endure
That his joy’s gonna be my strength
Though the sorrow may last for the night
His joy comes with the morning