Read 2 Corinthians 4:7
7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. (NLT)
Reading some Christian biographies can be either inspiring or dispiriting. We can admire how the great ones triumphed over adversity. We can lament at how we so often fail under pressure.
The problem with some such biographies is that they convey a sort of distilled heroism. The doubts and impurities are removed. But this is not how it is in real life. These so-called great ones achieved a degree of greatness only through doubt and testing and hardship. Any story of their lives which omits such things is dishonest.
Even the great apostle Paul admitted to his weakness and inadequacy. He wasn’t trying to paint himself as some heroic superhuman. And when we read the accounts of the great ones of biblical history in Hebrews 11, we see frail and fallible people who yet embraced the power of God.
This is biblical realism, a far cry from shallow heroics, a far cry from noisy triumphalism. We can feel so discouraged when we imagine that others are sailing along merrily while we are struggling. We can mistakenly assume that we are the only ones who can’t seem to enjoy repeated victories and leap seductive temptations with a single bound.
In the words of Paul, we are all fragile clay jars. Then again, we all contain a great treasure.