As we learned from the Devotional yesterday, we have this great and wonderful treasure in jars of clay. But just like those breakable vessels, our mortal body can be stronger than we can imagine. You see, those clay jars withstood outside pressure and remained durable and lasting for hundreds of years…and so can we. This verse promises us that we can be troubled but not overwhelmed by it…confused but not to the point of hopelessness…harassed and bullied but never forsaken by our Heavenly Father. You are a jar of clay, but one tough, resilient, and tenacious jar – holding an unspeakable treasure within.
In Biblical times, clay jars were used to store items of importance. In Jeremiah 32:14-15, the Lord tells Jeremiah to buy his cousin’s field and take the documents and place them in a clay jar. “For this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: Houses, fields and vineyards will again be bought in this land.” This promise that they would return to their homeland would take 70 years of exile in Babylon before it would come about…but these important documents would be kept safe until then…safe within a fragile clay jar. And if you’re a Believer, you have the great power and Almighty energy of God within your clay jar…your body, placed there by God for safe-keeping.
It’s been amazing to watch the immense fields of corn and soybeans growing around us. The farmers have planted the greatest amount they can in order to have the most abundant harvest possible. Blessing others works the same way. If we are open-handed with our generosity…we ourselves will be blessed in return. For it says in Proverbs 11:25, “A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Sow generously into the Kingdom of God with open hands and an open heart…for a man reaps what he sows.
The Apostle Paul was given a thorn in his flesh…some chronic, painful condition that plagued him continually. And even though he had prayed three times for the Lord to take it – it remained. This was the same Paul who preformed extraordinary miracles, (Acts 19:11)…cast out evil spirits, (Acts 16:18)…and raised people from the dead, (Acts 20:10). But the prayers of his own healing went unanswered. Now many of us would react very badly if we had a great Ministry but were unable to be healed personally of some very visible disease. But Paul didn’t allow it to make him bitter, or doubt his worth. Rather, he looked at it from the viewpoint of his dependence on the Lord and his need for humility. For he writes in Philippians 4:13, “I can do everything through Him Who gives me strength.” Paul gained his strength through his weakness…for God in His infinite wisdom gave Paul what he needed, not what he wanted.
In II Corinthians 5:17 it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come.” If Jesus dwells within you, you have been born again…a spiritual rebirth of a brand new person. But we humans like to return to the comfortable and easy things of the past rather than step forward into activities that are new, strange…and scary. As a Believer, you can’t go back to your old person, for he or she doesn’t exist anymore. You can only move forward…for the plan and purpose of God is to make you into something you’ve never been before.
There was Church division in Corinth…some followed Apollos, some Peter, and some Paul. All three were Godly men…all three were preaching the Gospel. So where could there be the disagreement? Apollos was an Alexandrian Jew that was converted to Christianity and tutored by Aquila and Priscilla in areas of the faith he was ignorant of. While Peter was one of the original twelve Disciples that had witnessed firsthand the work of Jesus. Finally there was Paul, a Jew and persecutor of the Christians until that fateful day on the road to Damascus when the Lord confronted him. All three were passionate about the Lord and the desire to evangelize. But they all came from different backgrounds and different life experiences, and their preaching styles showed it. Thus Paul exhorted the Believers to be joined together in Christ and the Gospel, not divided apart by man and subtle nuances.