But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.
2 Corinthians 4:7-12
What is the treasure that is referred to in vs. 1? The verses preceding this portion of scripture would tell us that this treasure is the gospel. We are the jars of clay...Christians...we are broken, insecure, useless pottery. Yet God chooses to use us...He chooses to use the weak.
The rest of this passage speaks of the death that comes through service to God. The death to self, or even true physical death that could come from service to God. By our death, we shine forth the glory if God in our death. This passage even speaks of what sounds like torture.
We had a speaker in chapel today who is a church planter in Denver, Colorado, and he spoke on this passage. His name is Jason Janz, and his church is Providence Bible Church and his ministry is ground breaking. He's determined to create a multiracial church, and he's already well on his way.
He and his family moved into the middle of the 'hood in Denver, Colorado. The only white family for blocks. They put their kids into the local public school. He and his family are committed to living out the gospel in this rough part of the city.
They've encountered many trials, but God grace has continued to overflow and give them courage. One day, one of his sons was attacked in school by another student with a knife. He gave him a pretty bad cut, and Jason told his son in tears that he would do whatever it took to get him out of there. His son responded by saying no...he wanted to stay.
They don't live with a "bubble" mentality of separation from anything that is not Christian. They go where the pain is...they go where those that are hurting are living. They live their life radically committed to living for the glory of Christ.
By the end of his message, I was shaken. My life is marked by great fear...fear about so many things...fear of rejection...fear of being hurt (both physically and emotionally)...
Why do I fear? The power of the gospel of Jesus Christ came into my life and redeemed me from life of sin, and justified me in His sight. That power is still available to strengthen me to do His work...and yet I doubt.
I'm far too comfortable with sitting on the side and living a selfish life committed to pleasing myself.
Lord, help me with this. I can't do this on my own. I want to be radically committed to serving you...even if it leads to agonizing pain and death...or the rejection of everything that I hold dear. You are enough God...you give peace where no earthly treasure can. I give my future to you, oh Lord...