Just a plastic bag?


Sadly, I no longer believe in “Magic and Sparkle”. Wowed by their luxurious and classy Christmas adverting – fantasies abounding after a fall through a manhole in search of a cute dog – my M&S purchases led to a plastic bag acquisition. Its size seemed ideal for carrying big £6 boxes of “Gourmet chocolates” back home, but the addition of two 2 litre Barrs juice proved too great a strain.
Magic and sparkle was ripped to shreds with my Asda shopping spilling out onto the pavement. Carrying various goodies back by hand was rather arduous and depressing, but then I thought about this amazing illustration, which never disappoints and is much better than any jumped-up ad campaign designed to make M&S big bucks…
The apostle Paul (in 2 Corinthians 4:7) compares us human beings to “jars of clay”, which were the 1st Century equivalent of plastic bags – good for carrying stuff around but of very little value in themselves and easily broken. So, he teaches us that though we might not seem impressive on the outside and our physical bodies can be ripped to shreds by circumstances, we have “this great treasure” – Christ Jesus – in our hearts and that makes all the difference in the world.
In fact, the miraculous becomes truly possible: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.” (2 Cor. 4:8-10)
Do you see? Precisely when we feel overwhelmed and stretched beyond our meager resources is the moment in which Christ Jesus’ “all-surpassing power” is most graphically and triumphantly revealed. The only I could have pulled through depression, extreme anxiety, bouts of binge eating and sexual temptations is His help – God’s abundant grace and strength. May Christ’s Name be glorified forever.


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