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I’m the lamp and He’s the Power

earthen-vessels

We have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:7

The “treasure” Paul is talking about is the gospel. I recognize that; but all the same, its difficult for me to think of myself as an “earthen vessel” or a “perishable container” (the translation in The Living Bible).

When I think of perishable containers, I think of paper cups and tin cans and broken vases. They don’t have any life! They cant think and choose and cry and get mad like I do. And I certainly don’t see myself as Gods hand puppet or marionette, there for all His string-pulling needs.

What do You mean, Lord? I don’t understand.

Paul makes a distinction between me and my earthen vessel: ” . . . We have this treasure in earthen vessels. . . .” So I’m in there with the treasure in my possession: the Person of the gospel, Jesus Christ. Its more like Aladdin and the magic lamp. I have this wonderful Presence within me.

But wait. Aladdin’s lamp just sat around gathering dust until he discovered how to release the power inside. Is that the key, Lord? Releasing the power inside? Am I a useless lamp that gathers dust until the power is released? Come to think of it, that would be a more exact analogy because I can do a lot of things without His power. Destructive, hurtful, unkind, thoughtless, careless things that His power would not do.

The comparison is applicable: Only when I “release” His power do I see how futile my attempts at power-playing have been. In my earthen vessel I can either gather dust or stir it up through all the wonderful and magnificent acts that I perform by His power through me. I can gather dust or I can create a whirlwind. And the choice is mine. Gathering dust is the limit of my ability. But the God inside me makes whirlwinds.

God did not create us to trust and believe in ourselves, in our own adequacy. No. He longs to strip us bare and take us to the place where we must depend on Him, on His Spirit within us. Then, by His grace, He takes us by the hand and teaches us that we can trust and rest completely in Him, in His strength and power.

We must learn the lesson of dependence

before we can move on to the lesson of confidence.

Confidence? Yes. Only after we learn that we can do nothing without Him do we learn that when we release Him, our “perishable containers” are capable of accomplishing mighty things. And therein lies our confidence: in Him.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. . . .

Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God. . . .

Apart from Me you can do nothing.
Philippians 4:13
2 Corinthians 3:5
John 15:5

Lord,
My perishable container isn’t quite what it used to be (remember that song about “the old gray mare”?). How I praise You that the Power within me is ageless. That my ability to perform is not the key to success. My ability to allow You to perform is the key to success. Of course, I may not climb high mountains or run races like I used to do, but there are different mountains to climb and different races to be run.

I am so glad that I’m the lamp and You’re the Power.

About the Author

Anabel spent decades teaching in many contexts through Lifetime Guarantee Ministries. She has taught countless others how to have a genuine intimate faith and a sound marriage. She shared from her heart about living from the heart. Lifetime’s beloved founder and mentor passed away November 7, 2010. Her legacy and influence are timeless and priceless.