Wherever you are today, I hope you are encouraged by what you are about to read. Life is often not easy. I find myself stuck in each passing day and I know many other people feel the same way. The only thing that seems to break the mundanity is a unique challenge or the thought of some glorious journey that could shake things up. Even then, I find myself right back in the same daily routine.
And somehow we can find ourselves putting God in the same category as all of the other mundane things that we experience. While we can recall the moments where he “made his light shine in our hearts”, we are subconsciously convinced that this makes no difference today. We would not necessarily word it that way, but our heart’s response certainly displays that. How is it that we who are commanded and empowered to raise the dead, heal the sick, and preach the gospel find ourselves battling to get our head off the pillow every morning?
Well I have good news! Today I am encouraged and you should be too! There are two simultaneous facts that we should all be aware of.
First, if you believe in Jesus and He has caused His light to shine in your heart, then you carry an everlasting, incomprehensible treasure within you. This treasure is the all-surpassing power that God has graciously granted to you to live your fullest life in His design.
Second, you are not the treasure. You are valued, but it is because this treasure was placed in you. In 2 Corinthians Paul calls our lives that carry this treasure “jars of clay.” He expressly says that this is “to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)
I find this very encouraging since it shows me that my life doesn’t need to look great and glorious all or even most of the time. I am simply the most common container that gets the privilege to carry the revelation of God in Jesus Christ. You and I are just clay pots that were seen fit to carry the gift of God’s eternal life.
Because of this, I can stop feeling like my life needs to be something spectacular so that I can turn my attention to that which really is spectacular within my life.
It should come as no surprise that after Paul discusses the container for this treasure that he goes into all of the very mundane, difficult and even inglorious real-life experiences that we can relate with. The apostle says that he has experienced being “hard pressed on every side,” “perplexed” (which means to be at a loss or out of resources), “persecuted,” and “struck down.”
How many of us can relate with that as we have been stressed, confused, unconfident, and failed. We experience these things in the most difficult part of life and in the most mundane. As a matter of fact, we should!
We are jars of clay being battered constantly. Yet, as we experience the battering on the outside, we experience the treasure of God on the inside and it is this dual experience that causes us to rejoice and press on. Because we have the treasure on the inside we are not crushed, not in utter loss and despair, not abandoned, and not destroyed despite our experiences.
We need the struggle of the mundane on the outside to push us to the treasure of the incomparable riches of His grace that He has expressed to us in Jesus on the inside. Do not downplay the difficulties you face, but also do not downplay the treasure that you have. It is this treasure that allows you to experience all of the good that God has. You don’t need to turn to anything useless to cope with your mundane experience. You can turn to God’s glory expressed in Jesus which fills you with His comfort,peace, hope, joy, love, and purpose.
If this is you and you are a believer, Paul gives us a clear way to respond. He says:
It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. 2 Corinthians 4:13-15
Whatever you experience on the outside, if you believe that you have the true treasure of God on the inside, all you need to do is to speak it out.
You can declare the truth that God is above your circumstances.
You can declare who God is.
You can declare who you are – a carrier of the true glory of God, a child of God, and filled with His Spirit!
You can declare that even the very worst possible thing that could happen to you, death, will result in your greatest treasure – being raised with Jesus and finding yourself completely with Him.
The great news is that this is true now! It’s not a glory that comes when you die, but it already exists in all of your trials. For Paul concludes saying:
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18
We are constantly facing an outward and an inward experience. The outward mundane exists at the same time as in the inward glory. Our response should be to focus on the unseen- the one that is harder to see in each passing moment.
You are filled with glory! So set your mind on it, declare it, and let God’s power overwhelm everything else. You, the jar of clay, cannot do it and that is the whole point. After all, “this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” As you find yourself experiencing that power, don’t hide it. Share it with others that they may also be full of faith for the same thing.
If you are not a believer, you may feel an emptiness with no hope of life or power. If you don’t believe in Jesus and these feel like empty words it is because they are apart from Jesus. If you sense your emptiness and need the all-surpassing power please reach out to me or a strong Christian friend in your life who can teach you about all these things. The gift of God is for you too.