Slightly Obsessed #072: Earthen Vessels


But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves.

– 2 Corinthians 4:7


We are jars of clay.

Earthen vessels, cheap to make, easily breakable, disposable. At the time of Jesus’ first coming, these jars were used for everyday chores like holding garbage and sewage.

They were just mud fashioned into common containers.

Like us. The apostle Paul describes us in 2 Corinthians 4:8-10 like this:

  • Afflicted
  • Perplexed
  • Persecuted
  • Struck down
  • Carrying around in our bodies the dying of Jesus

It hardly seems a fitting description for God’s crowning creation. We don’t like to think of ourselves as common and disposable and carrying around death. We try instead to make people believe we are powerful and indestructible. We hate weakness in ourselves and in others. We feel like failures when we can’t measure up to society’s and God’s standards.

God doesn’t hate weakness, though. Our weakness is essential to the revelation of His glory. Our frailties are the perfect backdrop against which He can paint His grace.

If we could save ourselves, we wouldn’t need Him. If we could serve Him in our own strength, we would be revealing our greatness, not God’s.

And although we are jars of clay, we’re not made to carry sewage and garbage. We’re created to contain the surpassing treasure of God Himself. We are the new temples, earthen containers overflowing with His majesty.

His sacrifice has made us clean; His Spirit has sanctified us to be vessels of honor. Now we are complete:

  • Afflicted, but not crushed
  • Perplexed, but not despairing
  • Persecuted, but not forsaken
  • Struck down, but not destroyed
  • Always carrying about in our bodies of the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be revealed in us

So don’t despair when your humanity overtakes you. It’s the perfect time to look to the God of grace and watch His power overcome your darkness. Acknowledge and revel in your weakness. Let the great treasure within you pour out of your being.

Embrace your frailty. In Christ, you are anything but common.


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