Far beyond our own insecurities and earthly doubts lay a greater purpose—one that somehow makes this cold world bearable: Jesus is at work among us.
This sacred truth is what fuels us from the moment we get up in the morning to the waning hours of the evening when we lay our heads on our pillows. While we face the repercussions of living in a broken world, inhabiting broken bodies, we are reminded that Christ is on a mission to restore everything and everyone.
If you've been feeling weighed down by the worries of our world, this devotional is for you. Today, I'm focusing on how God chooses to use us to accomplish His will and further His kingdom work, and how this is exactly the type of news we need to keep trudging onward. I hope this text from 2 Corinthians provides some encouragement.
Treasure in Jars of Clay
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-9
As Believers, we carry a powerful truth in our hearts every single day, one that changes everything. Jesus has died, rose again, and will be returning to redeem our world. This is the treasure Paul is speaking of. This knowledge of God's glory is completely life-changing and should impact our attitude and mindset, too.
Next, we're told these treasures are held in jars of clay. This amazing truth has been entrusted to us, broken earthly vessels. As the Enduring Word Bible Commentary states, "When Paul considers us as earthen vessels, he isn’t disparaging the body or considering it merely a receptacle for the soul. Instead, Paul simply compares the “value” of God’s light and glory and the “value” of what He chose to put His light and glory into. When you compare the two, it isn’t hard to be amazed that God has put such a great treasure into clay pots."
None of us are worthy to be containers for such a holy mission.
No matter how "good" we think we are. No, none of this is because of our own doing—only because of the grace of God. This is why none of us can boast in our own abilities or righteousness. Everything we have and everything we have become is a gift from God. Just like a humble earthly object, like a jar or a dish, we are temporal. Our value comes from what we carry, the truth we house.
One of the greatest miracles of our time is why God chose to bring us into His redemptive mission. He could have very easily entrusted this to His heavenly agents, but He chose to give us another purpose. Since we have free will and we're limited by so much, we're risky choices to carry out the Gospel mission. But since we are such broken vessels, everything we do highlights the glory of God—not us, the carriers.
Do Not Despair
"We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. 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. So then death is working in us, but life in you." ~ 2 Corinthians 4:8-12
Paul goes on to outline the ways in which Christians are being persecuted. Consider all the hardships you face, whether they're of this world or not. There are countless obstacles the enemy puts in your way to distract you from knowing and loving God. Consider the threats to your faith, your body, your health. This world is not as it should be, and it doesn't take long to realize that.
While we are "hard-pressed on every side," we are not crushed. We won't let this stress and darkness overcome our hope. Like Paul, we will continue to do the Lord's work in our communities.
When we look at Paul's life, we begin to get a grasp of the severe persecution he faced in the name of Jesus. He was hunted, beaten, threatened, starved. In spite of all this, Paul was "not destroyed." He was empowered. While our own life trials may not be nearly as severe as this early Christian martyr's, we still experience hardships that rattle our existence and shake our faiths. That's why encouraging passages like these are so necessary.
Disappointment and shame. Two words that carry a heavy, heavy weight. We all have our own burdens that haunt our thought-life.
As these anxieties swirl around in our minds, we can turn to Scripture and be reminded that God is not surprised by our brokenness.
You don't have to be perfect, LiF sister. In fact, you're expected to fall, get up, fall again, and so on. Our journey in faith will be marked by obstacles, but it's how we deal with them, that's what matters. You have been entrusted with an awe-inspiring, holy truth—the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Continue to do amazing things in His name, continue to give yourself to Him, despite how broken or "unworthy" you feel.
When you come to Jesus, you'll begin to see yourself as He does—fully loved, redeemed, worthy of grace and wholeness.
Take heart. Continue to fight the good fight of faith, despite your disappointments and shame. Our God is doing a great thing in and through you, LiF sister. Sometimes those trials are what we need to fully realize this.
- We're broken vessels, and that's okay! We don't have to be surprised or defeated by our inabilities. Let's face it—we're not God. Our limitations remind us of our great need for a Savior.
- Despite our many sins, God has entrusted us with His great mission, to continue to share Jesus' Gospel in our world. How incredible is that?
- None of us are worthy of this great calling. Nothing we've done has brought this about. In this way, everything we do highlights the power of God in us.
- While we'll continue to face many trials in our lives, we can take heart knowing we serve a God who is for us. Our greatest disappointments will never amount to the future glory set before us.
A Stylish Reminder
In this busy world, sometimes a little reminder can go a long way. A glimpse of an empowering Bible verse will give us the courage we need to make it through the day, or a kind word from a friend will remind us that the Holy Spirit is always with us. That's why we created our Christian t-shirts, to serve as stylish yet powerful reminders of the love of Jesus.