PJ’s Daily Devotional for Saturday, January 14, 2017
You contain precious treasure!
I didn’t say YOU are the precious treasure. While that would fit perfectly well with the spirit of this age, in humanism and its preoccupation with self-esteem, it just is not true. Let’s focus in on what the Bible teaches: You may not be precious treasure, but that you are the container (the “earthen vessel” or “jar of clay”) that contains the glory of God, and that is awesome in even better ways. It may not immediately stroke your ego, but trust me when I say it is a much more helpful truth and a balm to your soul when you discern the distinction.
Listen to one of the most amazing truths in all of Paul’s letters, “For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:6, 7).
What is the treasure that is so precious?
It is “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” In other words, you are a redeemed image bearer of God! The Gospel of Jesus Christ not only brings you from life to death spiritually and eternally (Ephesians 2:1-10), but it fundamentally changes who you are in this world. You are transformed from being a vessel of wrath to being a vessel of glory—the mystery of God is made known through you because He dwells in you—God has redeemed you for an even greater purpose in this life.
By the same power that God made something out of nothing (“creation ex nihilio”), God is using our everyday stories to point to His Big Story! He does this not because we bring something to the table that is usable, but in fact the opposite. At the very beginning of his letters to the Corinthians Paul explains, “But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God” (1 Corinthians 1:27-29).
If you tell people about your something (your implicit value as precious treasure), then you get the glory (and trust me when I tell you that kind of glory is short-lived and becomes a fickle master). But if you tell people about what God has done through your nothing (your redeemed value as the earthen vessel that contains precious treasure), then you give God glory. This not only fulfills the purpose for which you were made, but it makes sense out of all those cracks that exist in your clay pot.
I am a cracked pot and thankful for it!
This is the most liberating truth in the world; a balm to my soul. If I was the point of the story and my perfection and my ability to be beautiful were the point of the story then what bondage I would live in as a Christian. But it is not me that is the point; it is the treasure that is in me! The pressure is not on me to polish the outside of the pot (to whitewash and cover up), but to simply be the vessel that God has called and redeemed me to be. My job is to show the surpassing power that belongs to God; not live on the incessant and exhausting treadmill of trying to prove my worth and value to a world that constantly judges me as falling short!
It is not self-esteem that I need more of; it is a deeper understanding of my God-esteem as a cracked pot. I need to think less of me and more of Him because my value and worth comes from what God has placed in me, not in what I can accomplish with this broken life. In fact, His light shines more brightly through the cracked and broken places, then the places that appear to be whole.
When I spend my life trying to cover up the cracks and brokenness, then I am living in bondage to the spirit of this age, and my preoccupation with myself prevents me from manifesting the glory of what God has placed in me. Stop trying to present to the world something you know isn’t true, nor is possible in this life. Be free to shine His glorious treasure through your cracks!
Are you letting God’s light shine through your broken places?