July 2, 2013

“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

Flimsy, frail, fragile, feeble are all adjectives that should be avoided on a professional resume.  These are not personal traits that are typically exalted and espoused.  I don’t know of a motivational speaker who bears the mantle of encouraging the strong to throw aside their strength and embrace the joy of feebleness.  The New York Times best sellers list does not have authors advocating success through the power of weakness.  Our world works very hard to deny our weaknesses.  Numerous are the methods and programs that strive to identify our strengths and diminish our limitations.

There is a message being embraced by:

the child longing to be an adult;
the student learning from the master;
the athlete training;
the aged remembering their youth;

This message shuns the idea of being a flimsy, frail, fragile, and feeble clay jar. However, that is exactly what we are.  Our true identity emerges when:

illness steals our strength;
success slips our grasp;
intellect denies our aspirations;
age bars our activities.

When our true identity weighs down upon us, we are then able to see that we really are nothing in comparison to the surpassing power of God.  When we are powerless, the knowledge that God is everything has clarity.  When we are desperate, the love of God comes easily for those who are in Christ.

However, what about when we are strong?  What about when the accolades are accumulating?  What about when all you touch turns to gold?  What about when you are at the pinnacle?

I wonder if the strong and prosperous are not in the most danger when they are at their highest.

English: pots made of clay.

English: pots made of clay. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They are in danger because it can be so easy to forget who they really are.  Success can cause us to believe in a false identity.  We can begin to believe that we are something in ourselves.  At the moment that I believe that I am something other than clay, then God is not everything.  Confidence in my abilities has an insidious way of blinding me to my real identity.  I know that there are many things that I am good at.  The danger arises when I begin to believe that all the strengths that I possess originate from personal qualities.  We step into a morass when we claim success as the result of all our hard work.

This denial of our true identity strikes directly at what we love.  Loving God with everything that we are flows easily out of an understanding that He is everything and we are but clay jars.  However, a love of self is the natural parasite of a self-confident attitude.  The self-confident have lost sight of God’s surpassing power the moment they swallow the myth of their own fame, no matter how small that fame might be.

A man shapes pottery as it turns on a wheel. (...

A man shapes pottery as it turns on a wheel. (Cappadocia, Turkey) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In that instant, we lose everything by believing the lie that we can do anything within ourselves.

Fortunately, we get everything and can do anything the instant that we attribute all that we are to the rightful Originator.  There is nothing that is impossible for the one who knows who they really are. The clay jar has surpassing power within it when it embraces what it really is; flimsy, frail, fragile, and feeble.

Therefore, let us aspire to be what we really are… fragile.

PRAYER: Lord, you know that I fail in holding the right attitude in my heart.  You know how my heart loves to be made much of.  You know how I am so inclined to take credit for your work.  Father, remind me of how I am.  Thank you for all that You have given me.  Thank you for all that things that You have made me good at.  Thank you for the strengths that come from You through me.  Help me to keep the right attitude.  Help me to glorify You through all that you have given me.  Give me a heart that only wants You.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. I found this at once inspirational and thought provoking.I suppose it is beliefs that make us “see” in ways which we would prefer to.

    The lines that resonated with me are, and I quote, ” Success can cause us to believe in a false identity. We can begin to believe that we are something in ourselves.” My last post titled, ” The Mask” explore this aspect some more. A while back, I had mused on the various manifestations of Success in ” Success- Vision or Delusion?”



  2. Reblogged this on Belleola and commented:
    Have you acknowledged your frailty to God? I enjoyed reading this article. Very encouraging. Hope it encourages you as you read….

    • Thank you so very much for the reblog.
      God Bless!

  3. […] Have you acknowledged your frailty to God? I enjoyed reading this article. Very encouraging. Hope it encourages you as you read………….“ASPIRING TO BE FRAGILE” – July 2. […]

  4. I agree with shadowlilies: to be a beautiful pot like the ones in the photo would be lovely. And think of the soft light and interesting patterns that would glow through the openings, if a candle were placed inside! The lesson? Even such beautiful pots are fragile. If dropped or hit by a heavy object, they will crack and perhaps even break. Their fragility is part of their beauty, because the clay from which they were made was pliable. Our fragility as God’s children can be a beautiful thing, as we allow him to mold us. And when his light shines through us, we cast his radiant reflection on others. Aspiring to be fragile can result in great beauty–when God creates the design. Thanks for the imagery, JD! And thank you for the honest prayer that expresses our hearts.

  5. Well said. Very well said.

  6. Amen!

  7. Thank you for this. I get so weary of everyone telling me I have to market my skills and sell myself. Maybe I’ll find out someday that that they were right and I was wrong. I contend though that in myself I am nothing. God gets to decide, despite any efforts I make in my life. My job is to be faithful and do my best. My life belongs to my savior and God who controls all things.

  8. Wonderful content I would love to collaborate some time

  9. Thank you for your post. i am praying that prayer with you. Father break me none of me ALL of you. may i only boast in my weakness. for there You are made strong. I am NOTHING APART FROM YOU LORD

  10. It is very hard to embrace flimsy,fragile, and feeble. The knowledge of being flimsy, fragile, and feeble seems, to me at least, to be a given…it is the embracing of it that is the difficult part. It’s all about surrender a giving up…difficult for me, I must admit.

  11. Hey JD… are you a friend of Bill W.? 😉

    As I was reading this, I thought how much it applies to Bill’s warning about spiritual complacency and “resting on our laurels” (see Alcoholics Anonymous, page 85).

    I’m definitely going to use this as the topic for the next meeting I chair. Thank you ever so much.

    • Hey Karl – I can’t say that am I friends with Bill. Thanks for the link; very good.
      God Bless!

  12. Amen!

    1 Corinthians 10:12-13  If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.

    We will do well to remember Paul’s warning against pride!

    • Amen! Thanks for the addition of your comments.

  13. I’ve always cringed when people, even Christians, say we need self-esteem. I think I understand what they mean, but in reality, we already esteem ourselves enough. What we fail to do is the 2 greatest commandments: love God and love others as you love yourself. Even Christ stated that it’s a given that we will love ourselves … That we will consider our needs before others. Even when we beat ourselves up over our failures or our past, we are still focusing on ourselves. It is good to remember that we are clay, and there is a Potter who will make us useful for His purposes.

  14. Reblogged this on Words of Life.

  15. I love this! I have learned through many trials how weak and frail I am. I often think of myself as a cracked clay pot, and I have come to believe that the light of Christ can shine bright even through a crack…but honestly when I saw the photo of those beautiful pots in your post, I thought how lovely to be a pot like that…

    But we have this promise…

    “O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will lay thy stones with fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires. And I will make thy windows of agates, and thy gates of carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones. And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children. In righteousness shalt thou be established: thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear: and from terror; for it shall not come near thee. Behold, they shall surely gather together, but not by me: whosoever shall gather together against thee shall fall for thy sake. Behold, I have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I have created the waster to destroy. No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” Isaiah 54:11-17

  16. […] “ASPIRING TO BE FRAGILE” – July 2. […]

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