In these devotionals I have often talked about the need to let the knowledge we have of Jesus, shine out in our lives through the way we interact with the world. But I find myself reminded by Paul today, that although we may try our very best to imitate Jesus, we must not preach or brag about our own achievements. Principally this is because nothing is achieved by our own strength and everything comes from God. Although we try to live as closely to the way Jesus taught as we can, we still need to tell others about Jesus himself who shone the light of salvation into the world. Paul’s wonderful image of us being fragile clay pots holding a great treasure is very evocative. It combines two great truths. We are moulded by the creator from nothing more than clay and yet, through our inherent weakness and fragility, God’s great glory and power are best demonstrated because we have no strength of our own.
2 Corinthians 4:5-10 NLT
You see, we don’t go around preaching about ourselves. We preach that Jesus Christ is Lord, and we ourselves are your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
Today I am inspired by the fact that although our bodies are so delicate and fragile, when we have been called to faith in Jesus, this dangerous world does not crush and destroy us. I am inspired by the idea that though I might have to endure pain and suffering in my life, Jesus has shown us the power of faith in such situations. We need not fear death anymore and we can learn a lot from suffering. So my goal is to accept my weakness and embrace my vulnerability and have faith that when I surrender to my weakness, I allow the light of the Lord to shine. I want to try and remember that when I wear a feeble mask of strength and build false walls of independence, all I do is throw a veil over the light which shines in my heart, and obscure the face of Jesus Christ himself.
Job 34:1-36:33, 2 Corinthians 4:1-12, Psalm 44:1-8, Proverbs 22:10-12