We hold this priceless treasure, so to speak, in a common earthenware jar—to show that the splendid power of it belongs to God and not to us. We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated; we are puzzled, but never in despair. We are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone: we may be knocked down but we are never knocked out! Every day we experience something of the death of the Lord Jesus, so that we may also know the power of the life of Jesus in these bodies of ours.
Yes, we who are living are always being exposed to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus may be plainly seen in our mortal lives. We are always facing death, but this means that you know more and more of life. Our faith is like that mentioned in the scripture: ‘I believed and therefore I spoke’ —II Corinthians 4:7-13
My favorite line in the paragraph above is verse 7: “We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives.” But then Paul goes on to describe those “unadorned clay pots” as “dying men . . . troubled on every side . . . afflicted . . . perplexed . . . persecuted . . . cast down.” The Amplified Version goes into even more detail: “Hedged in (pressed) on every side, troubled and oppressed in every way; we suffer embarrassments and are perplexed and unable to find a way out.” Wow! We have it rough!
But then, with all that “stuff” going wrong, we are “never deserted or in despair,” “never struck out and destroyed.” Anyone being used by God is constantly under the burden of their bodies, waiting anxiously to be clothed with new ones.
Quite frankly, the Lord mocks our “own” power. He laughs at our egotistical efforts at being good. He never uses the high and mighty but, instead, uses the weak things of this world to confound the wise.
“Look at your own calling as Christians, my brothers. You don’t see among you many of the wise (according to this world’s judgment) nor many of the ruling class, nor many from the noblest families. But God has chosen what the world calls foolish to shame the wise; he has chosen what the world calls weak to shame the strong. He has chosen things of little strength and small repute, yes and even things which have no real existence to explode the pretensions of the things that are—that no man may boast in the presence of God. ‘” (1 Corinthians 1:26-29).
Well that sure describes me! I’m certainly not one of the “brightest and the best,” or “influential,” and I’m certainly not from a “noblest families.” In fact, I’ve told the Lord many times that I have no idea why he chose me, but I sure am grateful. But, for whatever reason, that is his plan—the greatest mystery on earth. God calls us in our weakness. He puts his priceless treasure in these “earthen vessels” of ours because he delights in doing the impossible with nothing.
I’ve heard many testimonies of people who were rescued from depravity and despair; anger and abuse; attempted suicide and loneliness. Our God will take anyone who is willing to come. You may come desperate and in tears, but when you come, He will receive you and deliver you from the most horrendous conditions.
I heard a story of Israel Narvaez, who at one time was a gang leader in New York City. One night he kneeled and received Christ as Lord. It wasn’t just an emotional surface experience—he really meant it. But Israel went back to the gang and ended up in prison, an accessory to murder. I guess most of us would figure it was all fake and that nothing had really happened in his life. We would simply write him off and a lost cause. Well, did Yehoveh quit on him? Not for one moment! Today Israel is a minister of the gospel, having accepted the love and forgiveness of a long-suffering Savior.
I’m sure Israel Narvaez wondered why the Lord bothered with him, but he thew aside his doubts and fears, and came.
Have you failed? Is there a sin that so easily besets you? Do you feel like a weakened coward, unable to get the victory over secret sin?
If so, even with that weakness in you, is there also a hunger for God? Do you yearn for him—love him—reach to him?That hunger and thirst is the key to your victory. That makes you different from all the others who have been guilty of failing God. That sets you apart. You must keep that hunger alive. Keep thirsting after righteousness. Never justify your weakness—never give in to it—and never accept it as a part of your life.
Father, I rejoice that there is no condemnation for me, because your Son is my Redeemer—and I belong to you. Your Spirit has freed me from the power of sin. I tried to do it on my own and I was unable to save myself because of the weakness of my sinful nature. Father, you have done what the law could never do. You sent your own Son in a body just like mine. And in that body you have declared an end to sin’s control over me by giving your Son as a sacrifice for my sins. So I declare I will no longer follow my sinful nature but will instead follow the leadership of my spirit, and governed by your Spirit (Romans 8:1-4). Be Glorified today, Lord, be Glorified in my life.
(I send out messages like this each morning in emails, and if you are interested in receiving them, send me your email address and I will add you to the list: Mail List)
I do thank you for your gifts. It is your faithful and continued support that makes these messages possible.