There is a verse I’ve known for most of my life, that’s recently come alive again for me. It’s from 2 Corinthians 4:7 and says “ . . . we have this treasure in earthen vessels . . . ” We are the vessels—humans God created from the dust of the ground. And yet our temporary, way-less-than-golden natures can still carry some of the glorious Spirit of Christ.
That’s amazing. Paul said knowing Christ was the one thing he sought most (Philippians 3:7-14). David said being in the presence of God was his one thing also (Psalm 27:4). God said, “Seek me and you will find me” (Jeremiah 29:13). More seeking equals more finding.
Yet we’ve slipped into thinking that what we have . . . is all there is. But Paul wrote to those who were already believers to “be filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Jesus said to the disciples who were already living with him “if you abide in me” (John 15:5-7, emphasis mine).
The presence of God was variable for both Old and New Testament believers. Moses put on a veil so people wouldn’t see how the glory faded. Jesus’ disciples received the Spirit more than once.
Look at these examples:
• In John 20:22 Jesus breathed on his disciples and said “receive the Holy Spirit.”
• In Acts 2 they were filled with the Spirit at Pentecost. (We know Peter was there, because he preached the sermon.)
• In Acts 4, Peter is listed as being there when they were all filled with the Spirit again (v 23, 31).
• By the time we get to Acts 13:52 we learn that the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. The NASB translates it as “continuously filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.”
Here is the part that is really standing out to me these days—the treasure is not just for us.
We have the opportunity of bringing the presence of God to others. Paul’s point in 2 Corinthians Chapter 4 is that the earthy weakness of the vessels is a deliberate contrast to highlight the glorious power of the Christ we carry. We are the light of the world because His light is in us. The most important thing we offer as leaders is the presence of Christ.
So let’s hunger and thirst for God. Let’s seek Him before anything else.