“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7).
Power. Might. Strength. There is a brand of power that is human. There is also a power that belongs to God. Our text calls it “surpassing power.” I am born with Nate-power, but God gives surpassing power. He gives a might and strength which surpasses.
But what does God’s surpassing power surpass?
God’s power surpasses Nate’s (or your) power. I am a jar of clay into which He has poured His glorious “light of the knowledge of the glory of God." I am merely a container of God's beauty, grace, and power. God poured that light into me. Again, I am only the jar of clay. He — and His message — are the treasure.
God’s power surpasses organizational power. The majesty is not found in human ingenuity or man-made plans and structures. The glory is found when God works through (and despite) our humanness. He takes our weakness and turns it around for His glory. He tells Gideon to get rid of 9,700 of his 10,000 soldiers. Too much flesh means too little glory for God.
God’s power surpasses the tongue’s power. Human persuasiveness can only take a person so far. Paul was weak in bodily presence, they said, but God worked mightily. Appolos and Paul and Peter all found the power of God far greater than the power of their tongues. Each of them feasted on the Word of God, and the Spirit of God fueled them to produce grace-filled teaching which fed the church.
God’s power surpasses all human powers. Every human power has limits. Our need for sleep reminds us we are limited. But God’s power is limitless. His power always surpasses. The more we posture ourselves as we are, jars of clay, earthen vessels holding God’s glory, the more we will experience His power. The more we try to act as if we aren’t clay pots, posturing and prancing around like we are something powerful in and of ourselves, the less of God’s all-surpassing-power we will experience. But our world and churches and families need the surpassing power of God. They need us to drag ourselves before our God daily to be filled afresh with His might and strength and grace — His surpassing power.
What are you up against, O clay pot? The power of God surpasses it. But if you try to come against it in all your might and energy you will break. You might find a modicum of success at the start, but with certainty your might will diminish. Rest instead on Christ. Abide in Him. Allow His life to flow into you and find the surpassing power of God at your disposal.