glory

Treasure Holders

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.

The more and more I learn about God and his ways the more and more I learn how different they are from the world's ways. I've often heard that when people look at you like you're insane for doing certain things you know it's God. I mean, we read in Scriptures that we're supposed to be set apart. We're supposed to be different (Romans 12:2). We read that His ways are higher than our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). And as I study the following passage of scripture I am reminded even more of his higher ways.

In 2 Corinthians 4:6-9 we read, "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."

The treasure he is speaking of is the knowledge of God and his glory and the clay jars are us. In ancient times clay jars were used as a metaphor for human weakness. Clay jars are fragile and can easily crack.  Once cracked they are of no use. But God has decided to place his glory, the greatest treasure, inside of us--us broken people. I love the picture we get from this. We are like a clay pot with cracks holding a great treasure. We have cracks from broken families. Cracks from depression. Cracks from abuse. Cracks from worry, doubt and fear. Cracks from wrong decisions, and even from decisions we didn't have the freedom to make for ourselves. We are all broken. We have all fallen short. That is the hard-hitting truth and reality. And the enemy tries to tell us, "You're broken. You can't do that. You're no good. You're weak." and in our minds we begin to believe the lie that because we're cracked, what use are we to God anymore?

But the story doesn't end there. Oh no, the story is so beautiful!

God's grace abounds in our brokenness. God chose to and was glad to place all the fullness of himself inside of us broken people (Colossians 2:9-10). Why? So that his glory would shine for all to see. You see many of us have tried to fill our cracks with other things. Maybe it's love from the wrong places. Maybe it's working to make yourself feel accomplished. Maybe it's trying to be independent so that you can feel like you made it through on your own. Maybe it's placing religion over a relationship with God. Whatever it is, God's power and glory is inside of us waiting to shine through. You see, it is such a beautiful picture to think of light bursting through all the cracks. It shows that even though we are broken he is greater. He is greater than depression, broken marriages, doubt, abuse, fear of failure. He is greater. So because he is greater and he is inside of us we have assurance that even though we may have troubles we will not be crushed. We will face more hardships in this life, but we are never abandoned by God. It is in our trials that God becomes glorified because we can stand up and say, "Even though this happened I am still strong because the one inside of me is greater than anything I have faced and will ever face!" When we let his light shine out of our darkest times so that others can see him, he receives all the glory, not us. 

So stop trying to fill in the cracks with things that won't last. Allow his light to shine through the cracks from the darkest places inside of you, so that he may be glorified and others may know how great of a treasure we hold!

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Ever, only, all for Thee

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“Take myself and I will be, Ever, only, all for Thee.”

I remember the spring I was preparing for my mission trip to Ireland and applying to be a leader on the team, I was asked the question that was something like, “What is God’s purpose for the Christian life?” Obviously there’s not a magic answer to this question. They were just looking at what we felt in our hearts God was telling us. I took some time to pray and study my Bible, and I clearly remember thinking it’s all about God. Everything in the Bible points to Him. My life should be all for Him and His glory If I’m not doing that, then it’s pointless. My purpose is to glorify God in everything I do.

Obviously that is easier said than done, right? It is in our human nature to want to make everything about us, to make sure the credit goes to us, to make sure we get what we want, to make sure that our own cause is being promoted. This leads us to a divided heart, and God makes it clear that we cannot serve two masters. It’s either all for us or all for Him, not half and half. We live in a me, me, me focused society, and I believe now more so than ever. With social media it has become the norm to promote our ‘best’ selves to the world and taking selfies has become just a usual thing that we do. And I’m not saying I’m not guilty of this kind of thinking in any way. This mindset has become ingrained in many of us in my generation because we grew up in it, although that is no excuse for our actions.

It’s either all for us or all for Him, not half and half.

I want to challenge you to be different than the norm. After all that’s what we’re called to do right? There’s a hymn that goes, “Take my life and let it be, consecrated Lord to thee.” It goes through stanza after stanza proclaiming the message, God take everything I do and let it sing your praise, let it bring you fame!

There’s a verse that says, “Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” In this passage people were concerned about whether it was right or wrong to eat certain foods, and so Paul addresses them by saying, “you are asking the wrong question. Examine your heart and see if what you are doing glorifies God.” It was more of a heart thing than anything else.

When our hearts remain in a place of awe and wonder of who God is, we can’t help but live our lives every second for his glory.

So examine your heart, and keep on examining it daily. Ask God to show you parts of your life and actions that are divided. Ask him to show you things you are putting above him and seeking the glory for instead of giving it to him. It may be hard to hear, but allow God to speak and transform your heart. He deserves all the glory. Remember all the things he has done for you. Ask him to show you how great his love is for you. Ask him to help you understand more and more how great and powerful and big he is. When our hearts remain in a place of awe and wonder of who God is, we can’t help but live our lives every second for his glory. Ask God to help you live your life for Him and Him alone.

Take My Life and Let It Be Frances R. Havergal, 1874

Take my life and let it be Consecrated, Lord, to Thee. Take my moments and my days, Let them flow in endless praise.

Take my hands and let them move At the impulse of Thy love. Take my feet and let them be Swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice and let me sing, Always, only for my King. Take my lips and let them be Filled with messages from Thee.

Take my silver and my gold, Not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use Every pow’r as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will and make it Thine, It shall be no longer mine. Take my heart, it is Thine own, It shall be Thy royal throne.

Take my love, my Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store. Take myself and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee.

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