21-Day Challenge: Day 18

Cracked pots

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

th-8This is the key verse to understanding how the new covenant works — the interplay between God and us, and how God gets His message across through us. Understand and act on this, and you will not be ineffective in your Christian life.

Notice that it starts with that same conjunction “but” that we encountered in Day 1 when Paul had just confessed his anxiety over not finding Titus in Troas, and had left behind an opportunity for spreading the gospel there, only to say, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us …” He set up one thing, and contrasts it with another. He should be anxious over Titus, guilty over walking by a door the Lord had opened for him, and depressed over the whole thing. Instead, he is thankful and confident that he is being led in Christ’s victory, and even being put on display.

Here, the “but” is referring to the incredible treasure we all contain described as “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ,” and yet that treasure is going to be housed in a most unlikely — perhaps even inappropriate — place. You won’t believe it when you hear it. It’s almost a joke, the contrast is so significant. All that glory and brightness and presence is going to be where? In you and me? You’ve got to be kidding!

The contrast is everything. The contrast is the whole point. Anything we do to eliminate that contrast is to take away from the effectiveness of this plan. The contrast between our fragile, clay-like (from the earth) bodies and the immeasurable brightness of Christ is something that should be obvious so that everyone will know the power must be coming from God, because it certainly isn’t coming from us.

You can see how the power of this message is made more effective by the commonness of our humanity. In fact, the power of God in our lives is in direct proportion to our weakness. The more honest we are with our humanity, the more the power of God can be seen and recognized in us. Conversely, the more we try and show ourselves as adequate and spiritual, the less anyone will ever know about the power of God. This is the tragedy of “playing church.” Everybody is hiding the power of God behind a false spirituality.

This is also why the new covenant is so freeing. In it, the greatest power is in concert with our greatest need. No need to hide anything.

Understanding this sets us free to live our lives with a kind of forthright boldness, counting on the Lord to show up, because He always does. The only thing that can stop Him is our manipulation of what he wants to produce in us through our genuine transparency.

Day 18 Challenge:
Here Paul makes reference not just to His power but to the surpassing greatness of His power – This glorious ministry performed through vessels of weakness.

Never forget that just as God has a plan for your life … so does Satan. Make no mistake, Satan is the god of this world and is actively at work scheming as to how he might discourage each of us from fulfilling the personal mission that our Lord has laid before each of us.

Do not lose heart! This ministry to proclaim the glory of Christ is too precious to give in to discouragement.

It is all about proclaiming Christ, and staying aware of the following facts:
The message of the gospel of welcome focuses on the glory of Christ.
Christ supremely reveals God as the image of God.
We need to be staring intently into the face of Christ.

Action Items:
Therefore, as Ministers of Christ,
Do you truly believe that God is Sovereign when it comes to who responds to the truth of the gospel? How does this affect your desire to participate as a Minister of Christ?
How glorious and cherished do you find God’s revelation about Himself in the person of Christ to be to you?
Are you hiding the power of God behind a supposed spirituality? How can you get out from under that?


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2 Responses to 21-Day Challenge: Day 18

  1. Cynthia Vera says:

    This may be my #1favorite verse in scripture….it was used in my wedding vows and at times during my life of sharing or joy, or hard times. In my life, I lost a child, a marriage, a reputation but Christ in me and these verses coming held it all in place. Love in Christ Cynthia

  2. Markus says:

    Do I believe that God is Sovereign when it comes to who respondsd to the truth of the gospel? Definitely! Personally, I believe that the fact that he uses us in this process is something he does to build our character. I mean, he could do it all alone, but allows us to participate. Why should he get us involved if it is not supposed to have an effect on *us* as well? I suspect that he wants to keep us active, to train our minds and souls, because it is good for us, because we tend to enjoy it more than most Christians would like to admit, and maybe also because God probably enjoys our joy there as well.

    As for Christ I must say that I believe that God has always understood us way better than we ever understood ourselves. But how could God convince us meager humans that he is fully aware of what it means to be a human? Letting Christ live amongst us was a great way for him to show that he does know indeed! His sacrifice is even more important, but the way how God used Christ to convince us that he knows what being a mere human means should not be underestimated either.

    And last but not least… frankly, I hope that I am not hiding behind some supposed spirituality, but I do see the possibility that I do so after all, and that I am just to blind to see. Personally, I believe that such an attitude where you are willing to question yourself and your faith is quintessential for coming out of hiding.

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