August 23: Jars of Clay

2 Corinthians 4:7. But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

We are jars of clay. What a comforting yet discomforting thought.

Yes, we have the glory of God almighty inside of us. His treasure. His power. But we are still just an earthenware pot. Fragile. Breakable. Cracked. Chipped.

Yes, the message inside of you is a glorious treasure, but you, the messenger, are close to worthless.

Yes, the Life inside of you is powerful, but your life is one drop away from shattering.

And this is exactly how God planned it to be. He wants to exhibit his uncommon goodness in a common vessel. Why? So that there’s never any confusion about who the truly powerful one is. So that we know that when anything good happens, when anything glorious is achieved, when the words we speak change a heart, or the things we do make a difference, there is no doubt that it must be God. Not us.

There’s an important dichotomy found in your dusty, cracked jar. In the first place, you are a mere shadow of the glory that you were created to be. But if you can get past yourself, and embrace the rough edges, chips, and cracks, then you might just be able to get to the second reality. God’s glory is shining through those cracks. And it might just be the cracks that make the glory even more beautiful.

Image result for kintsukuroi

Paul’s words remind us of this important reality – that “to live is Christ” means living in complete dependence and humility. It means living in complete embrace of our weakness and need. “To live is Christ” is desperation.

It is not I WAS weak and now Christ has removed my weakness.

Rather, it is in Christ I AM weak, but he IS strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

The weakness remains. Because that is how Christ lived his life, in weakness. In frailty. In sorrow. In dependence. But also in glory. Veiled glory.

We groan for the return of the King and the complete restoration of our jar. But until that day we have our glorious treasure veiled in these jars of clay. Until that day we embrace our broken jars. We don’t deny them. We don’t hide them. We don’t destroy them. We display them as trophies of God’s grace.

Do you tend to live in denial of your jar of clay? Your weakness and dependency? Do you embrace your weakness as a chance for the power and glory of God to be displayed in you? How does union with Christ connect you to both glory and weakness?

And now, of course, my humble tribute to the Jars of Clay songs that help us embrace our kintsukuroi.

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