Christians are flawed. They do not have all the answers. They are susceptible to pain, suffering, anxiety and fear. They lose their way sometimes and bad things can happen to them. The follower of Christ gets scars and bruises like other people do and will die just like everyone else.
A Christian is not someone whose life is all put together.
Just a Vessel
A Christian is an earthen vessel whose weaknesses work to showcase the glory of the One who indwells him or her.
The wisdom of this world handles human flaws much differently. It says, “Believe in yourself.” “Look within for the answers.” But let’s be honest. When has this ever helped anyone in real need?
The Gospel says that the deeper you look within yourself the worse things actually get; the more sin you will find. To believe in yourself is only to trust in a being with many failures.
So what’s the difference between a Christian and a non-Christian? Both are flawed and both have failed.
The difference is Jesus. That’s it. If you’re not a Christian then you do not treasure Jesus. You may treasure something, something you see as good, but only Jesus is truly good. A Christian is not better than others, but through simple faith and trust possesses something of surpassing worth and beauty; not because of a work they have done, but because of Jesus.
Paul told the Church of Corinth, “We have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” 2 Corinthians 3:7 ESV
Weakness, brokenness, the pressures of life and anything that reveals humanity does not have to bring you to ruin. In fact, because of Jesus, the treasure, it can’t ruin you.
God Puts the Treasure there
“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.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 ESV
It is God who opens a person’s eyes to the beauty of Jesus. That is what the glory of God is. It’s His beauty. It’s Jesus in all His wonder and all that He accomplished at the cross for sinners. To have the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus is really what it means to be a Christian. It’s not learned knowledge, but given. That’s the treasure. It’s the indwelling Christ. He inhabits a sinner and makes him or her righteous, perfect and holy through faith in Him.
What does this mean practically? Paul goes on to share with the Corinthians how he and his companions were taken to the breaking point many times. “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed;” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9
The Treasure is Christ
The question is not whether a believer will face difficulties and experience human weakness. The question is when. Will you trust that in those moments Christ is just as strong, just as glorious, just as much your Lord, life and Savior as He ever has been? Because He indwells every believer, and indwells you whose faith is in Jesus, then you can boast in His strength. Because He is the great treasure of the universe you can fully trust Him with everything. You can stop worrying about whether or not your flaws and failures define you. They don’t. Christ defines you.
“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.” 2 Corinthians 4:11
Every circumstance that reminds you of your mortality is another opportunity for Jesus to manifest his life in you and his glory through you. He is the gift. He is the treasure in clay pots. The surpassing power is His. The glory is His. When you face trials and tribulations that bring you to your breaking point, remember that God himself indwells you and you do not have to lose heart.
“Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18