Day by Day by Grace
by Pastor Bob Hoekstra
Thursday, May 24th
An Action Carried Out toward Earthen Vessels
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (2 Corinthians 4:11)
The treasure who lives within us (Jesus) is to get glory and honor as we trust Him to live in, and be manifested through, the vessels of our humanity. "But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us" (2 Corinthians 4:7). Our previous meditation reminded us that we are to embrace an attitude of "death to self" that facilitates this plan: "Always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body" (2 Corinthians 4:10). In addition, there is an action carried out toward earthen vessels that also advances this great purpose of God. This matter is also about dying in order to live.
This action is taken toward earthen vessels: "we who live." We who have found new life in Christ are the ones who are "delivered to death." Our God places us into (or allows us to be put in) situations that are far more than we can handle. Even the Apostle Paul had to undergo this action taken toward him. "For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves" (2 Corinthians 1:8-9). This was not an isolated incident. Paul was frequently in such impossibilities. "From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep" (2 Corinthians 11:24-25).
Since we are earthen vessels, this is the way life unfolds. Clay pots are characteristically inadequate and vulnerable. Consequently, the situations that our all-loving and all-wise God leads us into are consistently like being "delivered to death." However, this action toward us is "for Jesus' sake." In our continual impossibilities, Jesus has repeated opportunities to manifest Himself. Our heavenly Father places us in circumstances we cannot handle by our own resources. We cry out to the Lord, putting our hope and trust in Him. He faithfully goes to work in us. The result is "that the life of Jesus [is] manifested in our mortal flesh."
Dear heavenly Father, forgive me for the many times I resist Your delivering me over to death. You know that I prefer it when I can handle the events that come my way. Remind me to view my impossibilities as Jesus' opportunities to manifest Himself in and through the vessel of my life. This I humbly ask, in Jesus name, Amen.