I often chuckle when I read Paul’s words, “But we have this treasure in jars of clay…” (2 Cor. 4:7). I laugh because jars of clay sounds so elegant, but are actually the cheapest clay pots made in Paul’s day! Now he isn’t saying that human beings are cheap; but he is acknowledging that we really aren’t all that impressive on the outside. In fact, our outsides might even be ugly! The amazing thing is that God has chosen to contain His transcendent glory (God Himself) in fragile, unimpressive, even flawed and cracked human earthenware containers.
We could say that God (though omnipresent) has chosen to contain Himself and set up His address inside of fragile human beings. This is the truth about what we carry inside of us—it’s just easy to miss because our outsides are just so…distracting! In many ways we could say that the looks of a Christian are quite deceiving—what we see on the outside is not a fair representation of what we really are—we carry the transcendent glory of God Himself within us! We are just simply not what we appear to be. So how do we get past the distraction of the clay pot to see the glory within? It is really a matter of getting heaven’s perspective of things!
While most of us pray for heaven to invade earth, many don’t pray for a revelation of what heaven has already deposited within us. When heaven invades the earth, it brings three things: God’s presence, God’s power, and God’s perspective. At the core of heaven’s perspective is the revelation to see what God is doing and has already done in the lives of His precious people. Heaven’s perspective is that, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). Heaven’s perspective is that the great mystery now revealed is, “Christ in me, the hope of glory” (Col. 1:27). Heaven’s perspective is that we are individual carriers of Jesus Christ Himself within (see 1 Cor. 6:19). The ‘big’ perspective of heaven is that the fullness of Jesus Christ is already present and resident in His Church. It takes heaven’s perspective to actually believe that and see that, and it takes heaven’s revelation to release that in the now!
My problem is that I get stumbled and distracted by the clay pot humanity I see—human weakness, ugliness, imperfection, and commonness. But as Paul says, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor. 5:16a). From now on we must learn to only look at and consider people from a heavenly or spiritual perspective. We must intentionally look past the fleshly clay pot to see the brilliant deposit of Christ that is the real person—after all, they no longer live, but Christ lives within them! We must pray for the “spirit of wisdom and revelation” (Eph. 1:1) to see the real inheritance of Christ that each person carries. Then, we must be courageously willing to say yes to what we see in people and do everything we can to fully empower what Christ has designed them to be.
Let’s all pray for more of heaven’s perspective and look past each other’s cracked pots to heaven’s contents within. Only then will we see people and a glorious Church that reflects His already present fullness on the earth!