7 day plan

Power and Weakness

Day 6 of 7

2 Corinthians 4:7-12

Treasure in Clay Jars

7Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 8We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body. 11For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that Jesus’s life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life in you.

Reflection: To be a Christian involves both worshipping Jesus and following his way. When Jesus walked a path of power in weakness, he left us an example.

We started this devotion by reading from the book of 2 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians is addressed to the city of Corinth, a city well-known for its love of status and honour. This was a town where fame was a currency and you earnt it through being impressive in wealth and speech.

It was into this city the good news of a king whose glory is established on a cross came. This message is ‘the foolishness of God’. You can’t make the gospel look “Corinthian” without emptying the cross of its power. The gospel will not fit worldly paradigms, because if the gospel is true then everything we thought about power and influence is wrong. The kingdom of God is an upside-down kingdom, where the last shall be first and the greatest among you shall be your servant.
In 2 Corinthians 4, Paul shows that being conformed to Christ means experiencing weakness. But note that weakness is not powerlessness. Paul does not speak as a victim, who cries out with despair that his life and actions are ineffectual. If you are in Christ, power and weakness are not opposites – rather they hold together.
Right at this moment we feel our vulnerability acutely. To name that, to confess that, is not a downer on your faith, it is at the centre of our faith. We are hard pressed, we are perplexed, we are struck down. But we are not crushed, despairing, abandoned or destroyed.
Many of us think that our weakness disqualifies us from being effective for God. We try and neutralize our fragility with all the vigour we use disinfectant wipes on dirty tables. But we are meant to be jars of clay, pointing people to God and not ourselves.

Question: Have you ever thought your weaknesses stop you from being an effective servant of God?

Prayer:  Heavenly Father, thank you for making me a jar of clay. I want people to see that the power in my life comes from you and not myself. I want Jesus to be revealed through everything I do, even those moments when I feel fragile. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Days

2 Corinthians 4:1-18

The Light of the Gospel

1Therefore, since we have this ministry because we were shown mercy, we do not give up. 2Instead, we have renounced secret and shameful things, not acting deceitfully or distorting the word of God, but commending ourselves before God to everyone’s conscience by an open display of the truth. 3But if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4In their case, the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelievers to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 5For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’s sake. 6For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.

Treasure in Clay Jars

7Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us. 8We are afflicted in every way but not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; 9we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed. 10We always carry the death of Jesus in our body, so that the life of Jesus may also be displayed in our body. 11For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’s sake, so that Jesus’s life may also be displayed in our mortal flesh. 12So then, death is at work in us, but life in you. 13And since we have the same spirit of faith in keeping with what is written, I believed, therefore I spoke, we also believe, and therefore speak. 14For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you. 15Indeed, everything is for your benefit so that, as grace extends through more and more people, it may cause thanksgiving to increase to the glory of God.

16Therefore we do not give up. Even though our outer person is being destroyed, our inner person is being renewed day by day. 17For our momentary light affliction is producing for us an absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory. 18So we do not focus on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.