Fresh Start 2013: Day

We are jars of clay


Today's Text: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18

text: 2 Corinthians 4:7-18

I have to admit, I always got Paul’s metaphor wrong.  I, as I tend to do, made it all about me.  I pictured myself as a crystal clear glass jar with a lump of grey sculpting clay inside.  My jar was no fragile vessel.  This was thick, sturdy, sparkling glass, able to withstand high temperatures or clumsy hands.  And that lump of clay was my life, ready and waiting for God to sculpt me, or more likely, ready and waiting for me to sculpt me into what I thought my life should look like.

As it would be, I’m not made of sturdy, sparkling glass.  My vessel is frail.  Under the pressure of this world, I crack.  And that sculpting I thought I could do with my own life?  It broke me.  Completely.  Exactly how He planned it.

The jar, it turns out, isn’t what we should be occupied with.  Benjamin Jowett writes, “There is something wrong when the vessel robs the treasure of its glory…when the picture takes second place to the frame.”

What God places inside our vessel isn’t a shapeless, colorless lump of clay.  It’s treasure.  The spectacular, brilliant, blinding treasure of the gospel.  And He’s entrusted it to our weak, broken jars.  Because it’s through our cracks and holes that the Light shines through.

We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

We aren’t beautiful, unbreakable jars holding clay, we are frail, weak jars made of clay.  And yet we’re holding God’s richest and most glorious treasure.

Sisters in Christ, let’s thank Him.

Let’s thank Him for our cracks.
Let’s thank Him that outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
Let’s thank Him for the light and momentary troubles that are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
Let’s thank Him for our fresh start.


  • Joanne Sher

    Oh do I ever LOVE this! He shines through where my cracks are. EXACTLY why He uses the broken. Gonna stop trying to seal those cracks!

  • It's almost counterintuitive to think that the things that might be breaking us down at this very moment are really strengthening us, and preparing us for the weight of glory. I pray that when life starts breaking me down, or I start letting minor afflictions hurt me, I remember that it's for a purpose. I pray that I know He will lead me through it because He wants so much more for me. I pray that I value the precious gift God has offered and placed in my messed up, broken jar, and take care to let it shine through my cracks.

  • Ellen MR

    Dealing with pre-teen 12yr old twins, 1 girl & 1 boy that are FILLED with insecurities- I will tell them what you were told Pretty-Talkative 1 !!
    What a wonderful way to tell them that they matter!!
    Thanx, and Blessings to you! :)

  • I always complain about my cracks, my frailness, my weakness. But after reading this, I know that my cracks, my fraility, my weakness isn't bad. It is letting the light of God shine. It is so easy to get caught up in bad and not see the light and the good.

  • jesusgirl71

    thanks all for the verses. I get the replies in e-mail and saw it then, but for some reason, when I first came on the page, it just said "Jars of clay" or that's all I got, don't know why. guess I missed it but have them and have read them.

  • From 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers – Father, I'm so delighted that You are both loving and Sovereign, and that You cause all things to work together for good to hose who love You, to those who are called according to Your purpose. So I thank You for each disturbing or humbling situation in my life, for each breaking or cleansing process You are allowing, for each problem or hindrance, for each thing that triggers in me, anxiety or anger or pain. And I thank You in advance for each disappointment, each demanding duty, each pressure, each interruption that may arise in the coming hours and days.

    In spite of what I think or feel when I get my eyes off You, I choose not to resist my trials as intruders, but to welcome them as friends.

    Thank You that each difficulty is an opportunity to see You work. . .that in Your time You will bring me out to a place of abundance. I rejoice thatnYou plan to enrich and beautify me through each problem, each conflict, each struggle. . .that through them You expose my weaknesses and needs, my hidden sins, my self-centeredness (and especially my self-reliance and pride). Thank You thatnYou use trials to humble me and perfect my faith and produce in me e quality of endurance. . .that they prepare the soil of mymheart for new growth in godliness that You and I both ling to see in me. . .and that my momentary troubles are producing for me an eternal glory that far outweighs them all, as I keep my eyes focused on You. I'm grateful that Younlookmbeyond my superficial desire for a trouble-free life; instead, You fulfil my deep-down desire to glorify You, enjoy Your warm fellowship, and become more like Your Son.

  • Candacejo

    God is for you Emily!

  • jesusgirl71

    What a wonderful message! Being thankful for those light and momentary troubles is something I still am learning. I love the metaphor about the jars being of clay not filled with it. I do have one question, however. this message does not seem to fit with the reading for today? Am i missing something?

    N icki

    • Sarah

      I believe there's a glitch with the You Version app and the scripture is one from the Advent plan? Hope you were able to find the relevant scripture (2 Corinthians 4:7-18) or that the devotional reached you anyway! Maybe this glitch is another crack for His light to shine through!

      • Crystal

        Great way to look at it Sarah, maybe the glitch is another crack!

        Hope you got the intended scripture read, jesusgirl71, I too was very confused but then figure out what had happened.

        • claire

          I read the Matthew verses and every time I read Emanuel (Which means God is with us) my heart breaks a little. It reminds me of what Jesus did and of the amazing truth that he didn’t leave us. He is still with us. Through the good and the unimaginably tough he is with us. Then I read the actual passage and was blown away by how God is not only with us but making use of us. We will not be broken because he is with us!

  • Courtney M.

    I loved this today…the whole passage is …poetry. I was also encouraged to not only remember that I am a cracked vessel but others are as well. The poor, the drug user, the prostitute, the abandon child…also carrying around goodness and the love of God because we are ALL created by God..we are all cracked and broked vessels….our cracks are just in different places. So when I look around today…all I will see are treasures.

    • martina

      Love how you apply the cracked vessel to others! What a great insight.

    • Crystal

      I agree Courtney, it is poetry! I too like how you compared to others, "we are all cracked and broken vessels…" and this line "our cracks are just in different places." Isn't that the truth, we all have something we struggle with each and every last one of us.

  • lisabethjean

    WOW! I usually just skim over this passage, 'cause it IS all about ME, right?!
    Thank you for making me stay & focus on the precious nugget of golden truth here:

    “…we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. …so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.”

    pressed not crushed
    perplexed not despair
    persecuted not abandoned
    struck down not destroyed — I thought these were just coincidental circumstances I was going through; but NO! they are in my life to point others to Christ. If I get in the way, people will look at my broken vessel instead of watching the awesome Potter who is crafting me.

  • Jacquelynn

    Did anyone have the wrong verses on the YouVersion part of this? The devotion part was correct, but the verses were Matthew 1:18-25… My YouVersion has been acting up (parts are in Korean now), so maybe it is just my old computer :)

    • Jacquelynn

      I absolutely love this devotion today, though… Really spoke to me!

    • Bianca

      My youversion verses were wrong as well and after I tried to go back, the plan exited and said it was complete. Lol. It’s funny because i found that part of Matthew 1: 20 applicable to this devotional “…what is concieved in her is from the holy spirit”. Like this devtional says “we always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body”.

      • Jacquelynn

        I thought the same thing… it was still applicable, but seemed a little off :) Glad my computer hasn't gone COMPLETELY crazy, haha!

        • jesusgirl71

          What are the right verses? i couldn't find the right ones anywhere.

          • Jacquelynn

            The verses for today are 2 Corinthians 4:7-18. I found them on the header at the top of this page :)

      • Emily

        Thanks for saying something…it was crazy. I went thru a back door to get here.

    • Katie

      mine isn't working either. I had to bust out my actual Bible to read the passage. I got the wrong selection, right devotion, and it wouldn't let me click "done" at the end.

      Also it won't let me switch to NIV.

      Oh, and now the entire plan is gone from my dashboard. That is lovely :(

      • claire

        Yer the last devotion has no bible passage so you version think its finished…I had to restart it. Or just use the website for the final day!

  • June 1999 our daughter graduated as valedictorian …June 2000… Our son graduated as a valedictorian. People asked us to teach parenting classes. (I declined, I knew better)… Sept 19, I sat looking at my sons casket, my daughter to my right, with her partner holding her hand. I tell people we don’t look good on paper but it comes down to one thing. “Do I trust my children with God”.?

    Yes…my point? It’s all been to break me. To humble me to the point of relying on what God has I store for this expressive woman. I am looked down upon for my belief that the govt is not what they seem, by liberals and Christians. But it’s ok, the scripture was perfect this morning.

    Prayers for all that are going through tough times,


    • martina

      Emily, sister in Christ, your post was amazing. You have been challenged in ways that humble me. I grieve with you over your son's death. I sense the pain re:your daughter. And I hear in your words your strong intention to be faithful. Thank you for sharing.

      • Emily

        Thank you Martina, it's been quite something. I really need to write a book. I need to get well first ;)
        If you google Tim Pittsford his YouTube vid will come up on a PC or laptop. You can meet us ;).

  • Laura W.

    Not sure if anyone else is having technical difficulties but on the YouVersion app it says today’s reading is from Matthew 1 and the blog link links to yesterday’s post. Just FYI. Not sure if this is She Reads Truth’s issue to resolve or YouVersion’s.

    • Crystal

      I had this same problem and was soooo confused but once I figured out I had read the incorrect passage, I just looked it up online and NOW it makes sense.

  • I gave a loud “amen!” with a fist pump when I read the last paragraph!!

  • Love this part of the scripture reading today (this is from the Message)So we’re not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There’s far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever.

  • The Lord is so amazing and his timing never fails! I desperately needed this reminder today. Praise Him for our cracks and may the world see our Light shine brighter than the sun.

  • I never really understood this reference to having treasure in jars of clay before. Thank you. It's so beautiful to me-even more now!

  • Autumn Dawn Leader

    I love how God uses our utter brokenness for His glory. It's awesome and humbling and very encouraging. As my posts in previous days show, I'm really struggling right now. Thank you to those of you who have sent me encouraging messages and have been praying for me. I thank God for leading me to #SheReadsTruth and the blessing of uniting with you, my sisters in Christ, in prayer and growing in the Word of God, and that we have this great opportunity to encourage each other this way.

  • This is great. I have been thanking God every day for my fresh start. My life is changing for the better every day!

  • I love this: Let’s thank Him that outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day.
    I've had major issues with my health. At 25, I sometimes get caught up and find myself thinking its not fair,but through this study I'm learning that God has a bigger plan and is in control. So thank you Lord that even though I might feel terrible, You are renewing me through this each and every day.

    • Candacejo

      Me too Ashley, but in the valley He restoreth my soul! I live in constant pain 24/7 but God is still faithful even though I may not understand He gives me Grace for each day.

  • Amen! I love these verses because I love metaphors and the message of this metaphor. This is such a humbling passage to read in a few ways. One, for us who struggle with pride/self-righteousness, it shows us we are weak and full of cracks= imperfect. And then on the other hand, we are blessed, entrusted, and sent out with such a beautiful treasure. I'm just now reminded of the parable of the men that were given the talents. They were each given a monetary "treasure". Two invested it and multiplied it and one just buried it/hid it. In the end, the man who buried it got scorned by the One who entrusted him with His treasure because he..well, we don't exactly know the motives of that man, but we know he didn't do anything with the talent and that was not pleasing to the owner at all.
    I pray I'm not greedy with His treasure by keeping all my "cracks" covered/burried by pride or bury it with my cowardliness of what could happen if I told/showed others His treasure in me.
    I wrote a song a few years ago and the chorus goes,
    "Take my life, I lay it at Your feet. Broken in Your arms is where I long to be. Heart surrendered, eyes fixed on Your face. My heart beats only by Your mercy and Your grace."
    I understand, now more than ever, that being broken in my Potter's arms is the perfect place to be. I see my weakness when I am broken, and I see His power, love, strength, and so much more when I am broken too!
    I pray I remember the treasure, that I remember my position, "There is something wrong when the vessel robs the treasure of its glory…when the picture takes second place to the frame", I pray I live broken yet alive in the passion of Jesus' saving grace for all to see, not taking any glory for me! :)
    I so much enjoy reading this with you, my sisters from around the world! Have a beautiful day!

    • Michelle

      Thank you for this! I need to remember not to try and hide my imperfections, but let His righteousness shine through my cracks.

  • Loved, loved, loved reading today's post, and especially this bit:
    What God places inside our vessel isn’t a shapeless, colorless lump of clay. It’s treasure. The spectacular, brilliant, blinding treasure of the gospel. And He’s entrusted it to our weak, broken jars. Because it’s through our cracks and holes that the Light shines through.
    So encouraging this morning to think of what God does in my life from this perspective…brings new meaning to being "clay in the potter's hands"!
    I just feel so free! What a great fresh start – to the day, to the weekend, and to the year :-)

  • Bethlynn

    Abi – thanks for your joy! How do I get ur icon to show up?

    Robin – thanks for ur inspiration in a new year … Lucky 2013

    Lauren – thanks for sharing a profound image from your nursing. We are temporal vessels and even “perfect 10″ bodies will wear down but we can grow stronger hearts. I love that.

    Rocknital – I love the image of u Rockn the stage in ur walker. Congrats lady!

    Cynthia – I am praying and awaiting my big moment. God has great plans and patience is tough but u inspire me.

    Nance – I pray for healing for your hands. You hav such a great attitude!

  • rocknitat55

    I love this post. The idea that I have hidden treasure within me is so comforting. So empowering. I was abused as a child and struggle with self worth and esteem issues. I started my life as one big cracked vessel. Oh but for grace and mercy these things would have consumed me. Lord I have so many cracks that there should never be any darkness around me.

    Lord thank you that you are showing me that I am just who you made me to be.

    • pretty-talkative1

      We are very "valuable to Jesus no matter what others think of us". It matters what He thinks and what you do in His name." I was told that as a child and it has always stuck with me.

  • Cynthia, I can relate to your post. I liked "I liked we are cracked that's how the world can see our light."

  • “It is okay that we are cracked; that is how the world sees the Light.”

    When I read this statement, it was as if it was fresh revelation! A weight was lifted; I AM JUST CLAY. I am prone to have blemishes, I will eventually have cracks and/or chips, inevitably I will one day break.

    The Good News is: THAT IT IS OKAY! I FINALLY realize that is how God madE me. That is why He is the Potter…He made me, He formed me, He created me just as I am.

    Therefore, when I am broken, He will fix me (that is if He desires)…or maybe He desires to leave me broken (like the fine china in my aunt’s cupboard). We all remember seeing it; whether it belonged to our mother, grandmother, or some other relative.

    The pieces just set there until there was some special occasion arose. Then we pulled it out, dusted it off, and cleaned it up for use (even some of the chipped and cracked pieces). After all it was a set!

    Isn’t that how we are (the Body of Christ)? Maybe we aren’t fine china but we are more than that in God’s eyes. He is just waiting for that “special occasion” to show us off. It doesn’t matter to Him our physical condition, whether we are cracked or chipped.

    He has big plans (special occasions) for each of us. What is inside of us was placed there to be seen. It is through our imperfections that it seeps or drips out. Be prepared to be used…CRACKS AND ALL!

    We do not preach about ourselves, but we preach that Jesus Christ is Lord and that we are your servants for Jesus. God once said, “Let the light shine out of the darkness!” This is the same God who made his light shine in our hearts by letting us know the glory of God that is in the face of Christ. We have this treasure from God, but we are like clay jars that hold the treasure. This shows that the great power is from God, not from us. We have troubles all around us, but we are not defeated. We do not know what to do, but we do not give up the hope of living. We are persecuted, but God does not leave us. We are hurt sometimes, but we are not destroyed. We carry the death of Jesus in our own bodies so that the life of Jesus can also be seen in our bodies. We are alive, but for Jesus we are always in danger of death so that the life of Jesus can be seen in our bodies that die. (2 Corinthians 4:5-11 NCV)

    • rocknitat55

      Thank you cynthia your post was so enlighting. I struggle with being a cracked vessel! It seems I can except and encourage the cracks of others but for myself I am always looking for some spackle to repair the cracks.
      I recently became disabled I’ve gone from not walking to now walking and driving. This is all done with the aid of a walker. I finished my degree at 57 and walked across the stage on my walker to receive my diploma. People are mesimirized, I on the other hand consider it the norm. After all this is but a light affliction! Did I really have a choice?
      I would like to solicit the prayers of my sisters. In the next couple of months I have the opportunity to be placed in the field for which I know God has meant for me. My employer is elated I on the other hand see my physical situation as a big ole CRACK. Lord help my unbelief. I guess this is a special occassion and one must use the special china even if its cracked.

      • Jesyka

        Thank you for sharing what the Lord has been doing in your life. Congratulations on finishing your degree! I just wanted to encourage you to email your prayer request to [email protected]
        I'm sure that a lot of lovely ladies reading through the comments are lifting you up in prayer, but send a quick email so we can make sure that someone is praying for you!

  • ‘Outwardly we are wasting away’ I see this in action as I work as a nurse. On every shift I whiteness as the body struggles to overcome another surgery or illness however the amazing thing is God works through our minds and hearts to give us strength. As our body gradually becomes weaker and weaker our heart can be at its strongest even on the day we take out last breath.

    • Nance

      I was so relieved to read this this morning when my arthritic hands are aching from the cold. I rely on The Lord Jesus for strength to help me throughout this day. I hide my pain inside Jesus' wounds and He lifts me to a higher place just at the right time. :) Oh how I love thee Sweet Jesus!

      • rocknitat55

        Praying for you nance. I too start most days with pain in my joints and knees but I press on for the alternative is unacceptable. We march on for jesus just a little slowly :) God Bless U.

    • Pamd

      Thank you for posting this insight.

  • I thank him for those cracks,as I start 2013 sealing them up and looking for my new start, and letting my light for god shine bright each and eveyday though me

  • “Let’s thank Him for the light and momentary troubles that are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.” Amen!

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