I’ve been really encouraged by a simple piece of scripture which clearly lays out our position in the eternal plan of God and the power which is placed within us.
For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. 8 We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 11 For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. 12 So then death is working in us, but life in you.
13 And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, 14 knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. 15 For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God. – 2 Corinthians 4:6-15
God has put His treasure in jars of Clay. This treasure is the knowledge of the glory of God in Christ Jesus, it is the gospel and the power of Jesus and his sacrifice.
This is a great treasure. We would be inclined to take our most valuable possessions and lock them away, but God chooses to take the most valuable thing in the universe and put it inside simple jars of Clay.
• Simple clay jars would offer no security or protection from thieves, but this treasure cannot be stolen or taken away from us.
• Simple clay jars would not outlast the treasure within. Clay jars were disposable but the treasure is eternal.
• Simple clay jars would not be the best place to display the beauty of those riches, unless people look closely or the jar begins to degrade and the light shines through the gaps.
Simple earthen vessels can’t withstand too much trauma. They can easily become chipped, broken, or crushed back into dust.
Many of us will identify with the four emotions which Paul highlighted here. At times, we have all felt, a bit crushed, in despair, forsaken and destroyed.
These are the natural emotions whenever the pressure of life squeezes in around us, or when we are confused and dazed by the situation we face, or in times when we are treated badly or rejected by others.
Those who only build their treasures on earth and spend their time glorifying the earthly vessel will probably be overcome by these emotions and may only spend their days watching decay.
We have the hope found at the end of this chapter
Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
If our only treasure and hope was in the outward vessel, then we could be forgiven for allowing those negative feelings to take over, but I’m so glad that God puts in us a greater, eternal treasure which goes beyond this earthen vessel and we can say with confidence:
We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— 10 always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.