but we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;  always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.  for we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.  so death is at work in us, but life in you. [2 corinthians 4:7-12]
we, as jars of clay, have this treasure, the gospel. and because of the gospel, we may be down but we will never be out. paul is a shinning example of being afflicted in every way, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down:
i am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. five times i received at the hands of the jews the forty lashes less one. three times i was beaten with rods. once i was stoned. three times i was shipwrecked; a night and a day i was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. and, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. (2 cor 11:23-28)
yet still, paul is not crushed, not driven to despair, not forsaken, and not destroyed.
paul knew the weight, the glory, and the worth of the life that was manifested in our mortal flesh through Jesus’ work. constantly dying to self (luke 9:23) and knowing when we die – Christ lives.
read this passage today, read it again. i pray for you that you see the power and work of Christ. but also, i pray you run to him for help dying to yourself. i know i am in desperate need of help, Christ’s help in order to lay down my life and pick up my cross to follow him today.
my prayer for you today:
Lord, i pray that my brothers and sisters today are faced with the treasure that they carry within themselves. oh Father, as we are being given over to death for your strength, i pray we fall to our knees in need of you. oh i pray the weight of the gospel is heavy and glorious. please, God draw us into your presence as your truth becomes more alive in our lives.
~ holly russell