But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.
— 2 Corinthians 4:7
Most people struggle with poor self-images. We see ourselves as unworthy shacks built of mud and sticks. We certainly do not see ourselves as the highly decorated shrines of the Holy Spirit that we talked about in yesterday’s Sparkling Gem!
Paul was aware of this, too, and that is why he commented, “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
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Paul used several key words in this text. First, he said, “But we have….” The Greek word used here is echomen, and it can be translated we hold or we possess. It is in agreement with the phrase “earthen vessels,” which is the Greek word ostrakinos, describing small, cheap, easily broken pottery. This particular kind of pottery was considered to be weak, fragile, and easily replaceable.
By using the word echomen in connection with ostrakinos, Paul is making a strong statement regarding our real spiritual condition. He says that we hold or possess some kind of treasure in vessels that are small, cheap, easily broken, and replaceable. This is how he described our physical bodies. And — he was right! The human body is fragile. A wrong diet can kill it; working too hard can break it; too much pressure can damage it; and even after caring for it your whole lifetime, it still dies.
The greatest minds, the most creative inventors, the highest intellects, the most colorful writers, and the most dynamic politicians are all subject to physical death. Eventually the human body breaks under the stress of age, and the vessel that carried such incredible talent and potential is reduced to unrecognizable dust, totally valueless. Some human vessels break earlier, and some last longer — but eventually they all break; they all collapse; and they all return to dust.
Here is the amazing part: We “earthen vessels” contain something Paul called a “treasure.” The word “treasure” is the Greek word thesauros. It describes a treasure so rich and immense that it could never be expended. This would be the treasure hunter’s greatest dream. This, my friend, refers to the precious Holy Spirit, which God has deposited inside us!
From natural appearances, we may look weak, fragile, and valueless. Certainly we don’t look like a place where God would hide His greatest treasure. Paul wrote this verse with a sense of amazement: “We hold this immense, incredibly rich, inexhaustible treasure in these human bodies of ours that are so easily broken and expended!”
If you were God and possessed a treasure that was infinitely grand, would you place it in something as unreliable as you are? But that is precisely what He did. This is part of the miracle of our salvation. What we see with our eyes is the outer casing of weak humanity. But contained in that fleshly, carnal, short-lived body is the very power that created the universe and raised Jesus from the dead!
The point is this: After recreating us in Christ Jesus; after turning our previously dead spirits into temples so marvelous that God Himself is willing to live in them; and after placing His greatest treasure in our hearts, do you think the Holy Spirit is going to walk off and leave His investment for the enemy to plunder? The emphatic answer to that question should be obvious to you by now! Never!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, thank You for putting Your Spirit inside me. Yes, it’s true that my body is weak, fragile, and temporary. Yet You have chosen to place Your immense, incredibly rich, inexhaustible treasure in this fragile human body of mine that is so easily broken! Help me, Holy Spirit, to understand this wonderful truth so I can more effectively yield to and cooperate with You. Open my spiritual eyes so I can truly see the wealth You have deposited inside me!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I am the repository of the Holy Spirit! When God was choosing a place for His Spirit to take up residence, He chose me! Although my physical body may be a clay earthen vessel of human frailty, He has chosen to reside deep within me so the grandeur and surpassing greatness of Christ in me, the Hope of Glory, will be shown to be arising from Your sufficiency and not from me. My spiritual eyes are being opened, and I am realizing more and more every day that God has put His greatest gift in me!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- When did the Holy Spirit first come into your life? This is a very doctrinal question — one that you need to get right because it establishes your foundation for belief.
- When the Holy Spirit moved into you, what qualities and characteristics did His divine life impart to you? In what ways are you tapping into them and applying them in the various areas of your life?
- Is there any other place the Holy Spirit lives outside the human spirit? Why has the Holy Spirit chosen to indwell you?