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Are you ready to give up? - Daily Steps

Posted by Kim Stiver on

Welcome to Daily Steps
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.

2 Corinthians 4:7,11 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, not from us. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body." (NIV)

Radiance Revealed in Weakness

On most archaeological digs, pottery shards are often the first sign of a site discovery because almost every dwelling, whether it was permanent or temporary, included a rudimentary kitchen or pantry. In the ancient world, the most common household items were simple jars, dishes, and cups made from kiln-fired clay. As one of the most abundant natural materials clay was often the only option for most people to store and serve food and beverages, but regardless of its versatility and affordability, clay pottery was also extremely fragile. For all of these reasons, multiple Biblical authors including the Apostle Paul used pottery as a metaphor for God's ability to use the most ordinary and most fragile vessels to display His glory — human beings.

In 2 Corinthians 4:7, 11 Paul writes: "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God, not from us. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that His life may also be revealed in our mortal body." In this extraordinary statement, Paul is essentially saying that the surest way to reveal Jesus is to endure suffering and brokenness for all the world to see. Through our terribly imperfect existence and in our completely unremarkable bodies (which he says later in this passage are wasting away) we can be the most radiant of the "treasure" that lives within us — the Spirit of Jesus. Although we are still living, we are on the path toward death — or suffering for the sake of Christ — in order that the miracle of His strength, power, and resilience can emerge and shine through our cracks, fault lines, and weak spots. As our pursuit of perfection breaks down into humility and selflessness, we become remarkably less noticeable and the radiance of Jesus becomes brighter and stronger. Rather than flawed and damaged creatures, we become new creations glowing with hope, peace, and joy in a world of chaos, hatred, and selfishness.

The key to becoming radiant new creations who humbly and shamelessly allow their scars, weaknesses, and imperfections to show, is vulnerability and trust. Surrender to the Holy Spirit as His exacting work in our lives must always precede forgiveness and healing. When we remember that God sees us as His son or daughter, whom He always loves, accepts, and restores through Jesus, our response should always be one of awe, humility, and receptivity to whatever He wants. Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 18:3, that we are to be like children. The ESV Study Bible gives that statement some context: “The humility of a child consists of childlike trust, vulnerability, and the inability to advance his or her own cause apart from the help, direction, and resources of a parent.” Therefore, the mark of growth and maturity in a Christian is not what we would expect, or even naturally desire. We are not to seek the increase of our own wisdom, independence, or ruggedness. Rather, God wants us to become progressively more dependent on Him… for everything. He doesn’t even want us to see or evaluate situations, people, or things around us from our own point of view. He wants us to begin each day and approach every moment with His truth as our point of reference. This is what it means to be a vessel — or as a jar of clay — it was designed for God's purpose, for use in His hands, to pour into the lives of others. 

Daily Bible Readings

This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask the Holy Spirit to make each of the passages deeply personal and applicable to you. (NOTE: We suggest that you read each of these passages in several different versions of the Bible, including at least one paraphrase version.) As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. Write down anything the Holy Spirit whispers to your soul. 

Monday - Read Ephesians 3:14-19 and James 1:2-4 in several different versions of the Bible. If we want God to heal us and shine through our most shattered places, our greatest disappointments, and our deepest wounds, we must start by believing that He allows suffering for a holy purpose. Even though we may believe that God can heal our broken places, it's easier to focus on the pain and heartache associated with them rather than allowing God to transform them into something outright, beautiful and radiant. While this reaction and our typical coping mechanisms are natural, they are not holy. Jesus tells us that He has already overcome every adversity — absolutely anything the world can dish out at us. Select a phrase or word from the Scripture reading to meditate on and let the Holy Spirit whisper to your soul about how much He loves you. Ask Him to reveal any corners of your heart or mind that you haven’t surrendered to His loving direction. Write down what comes to your mind and commit it to prayer this week.

Tuesday - Throughout the Bible, God promises to protect us, guide us, and be our shield in the storms of life, but that doesn’t mean the trials won’t come. When they do, He will walk through the suffering with us, drawing us closer than we’ve ever been. Take a moment to listen to this worship song (Another in the Fire by Hillsong) and ask the Holy Spirit to give you the courage to step out on faith before you feel His presence. If we step forward, He’ll be there to meet us. If you have time, read Daniel 3 and imagine what it must've been like when God showed up to walk in the fire with His beloved ones. 

Wednesday - Read Psalm 147:3 to focus your mind and eliminate distractions. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you and open your ears to His whisper. Then spend some time in quiet reflection at the feet of Jesus — not uttering a word in your head or from your lips for at least five minutes. If it helps, listen to soft instrumental hymns. Then ask God this question: Father, what brokenness is within me that I haven’t released to you for healing? Write down the thoughts that come to your mind.  

Thursday - Read Psalm 51:17 and Thessalonians 5:16-18. Sometimes God allows difficulties and hardship to come our way specifically to lead us to a place of brokenness and deeper humility. Spend time writing down anything that comes to your mind as a benefit of being broken, humbled, and emptied of yourself. Are there any sins, rebellious ways, stubbornness, or pride that you have yet to release? What kinds of brokenness have you experienced and how have you seen God use them for His glory or to comfort others? Spend time thanking and praising God that He has used — and will continue to use — your brokenness and suffering for His glory.  

Friday - Read Read Psalm 147:1, Zephaniah 3:17, and Psalm 34:1-3. After we thank God for all things, the Word tells us to give Him praise. Lifting your heart to God and worshipping Him even when you’re wrestling with difficult things, rejection, or losses takes great effort but reaps unfathomable spiritual blessings. Spend time lifting your voice to Him — yes, out loud — through words of adoration and songs of praise without any agenda or expectations. You'll be amazed at what happens when you do.  

TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to God each day and explore what it means to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth.

Want to Go Even Further? 
Check out our companion study guide to use with your community group, neighbors, or family members! Each week includes thought-provoking questions for discussion or individual study based on this week's sermon topic. 
STUDY GUIDE

Get Your Worship On!
Do you love the worship music at Cornerstone? Then our worship YouTube channel is for you! Enjoy all your favorites now, featuring the worship teams from all of our campuses! PLUS...there is a new original song this week. You won't want to miss it!

CF Worship ChannEl on YouTube

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