Good morning my friends. I am sorry I am late with this. It seems the day started without me and now I am playing catch up. We all have the occasional day like this. We are continuing with 2 Corinthians 4.
So far we have considered how we are bearers of God's glory by the Holy Spirit in us. We considered how simply knowing this causes us to not lose heart in anything we face, because our purpose is to bear his glory. Now we are going to consider further the privilege and the cost of this purpose.
But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. v. 7
Do you feel unworthy of the responsibility and privilege we have to be bearers of God's glory? Good. We are unworthy. Do you realize that clay jars were the cheapest form of holding containers. They cracked easily, chipped easily and were considered disposable. That is what Paul is calling us. Doesn't seem right that we should be bearing God's glory. The vessels he chooses should be finely ornamented vessels, trimmed with gold and fine jewels. But that is the point isn't it. The vessel isn't suppose to take away from God's glory. We are not to draw the attention to ourselves. People should hardly see us. It should be all about God. Do you realize that Jesus was always deferring to the Father? He kept giving praise and honour to the Father. A servant must never draw attention to himself. Read the verse again.
Clay jars did not receive the best treatment. They were not handled with kid gloves. Today we fall over people, pampering them and never challenging them to serve in difficult situations. We give up at the first sign of resistance or hardship. When things don't work out as we thought or even when disaster strikes we think it normal for people to give up. But we are bearers of God's glory. That glory must go into the worst areas and be present in the most difficult situations:
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you. vs. 8-12
That death is to self. A servant must die to his own needs in order to serve the needs of others; in order for life, eternal life to come to others. There is a cost to following Jesus and it is your death. There is no other method of being a glory bearer. We are called to stay the course no matter the cost. We are called to remain steady and faithful in our task of bearing God's glory. Our own needs cannot occupy our thoughts. Even the preservation of our life cannot be our concern. We are told that our Father is occupied with us so we can be occupied with his work. We are not expected to give up just because it is hard. We are not expected to become discouraged just because we cannot see how it will work out. We are to remain obedient even in the face of death itself.
Our greatest weapon is our faith. In hardships, trials, persecutions, work loads we tightly grasp our trust in our Lord. But we do more than grasp, we press on:
It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With 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 in his presence. 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. vs. 13-15
How will the world be saved if there is no one willing the bear the cost? How will our neighbours know the glory of God if we are not willing to bear it? How will anyone taste of the goodness of God if we are not willing to bear the fruit? And I am not talking about just during sunny days, I am talking about in the worse storms, even personal failure storms. God's glory is best revealed in our weakness. And so understanding this we should be able to say with Paul:
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. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. vs. 16-18
Now isn't this even more powerful when you put it in the context of the last few days? Don't let go. Don't give up just because it is hard? Don't walk away just because you can't see? What is the alternative? Some say, "It's time to move on." These foolish people. They are running away. God never calls you out of something; he calls you into something new. Don't be so foolish to run away and pretend it is God. You have been called to stand. So stand. Take up his banner, be the glory bearer and serve him to the end. That is what we have been called to, and don't you forget it.