But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. 2 Corinthians 4:7

When Jesus went to wash Peter’s feet he initially said, “you shall never wash my feet” and then in the next breath he says, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well” (John 13:8-9). Peter has gone from one extreme to the other. The tendency to go to extremes isn’t unique to Peter.

On the one hand, there are days when we’d like God to take over our lives completely. At other times, we put pressure on ourselves to be busy doing things for God. The balance lies somewhere in the middle but where?

God wants to instruct us, guide us and be with us. He is Lord but he doesn’t swallow us up in a takeover bid. He shines through our temperament and personality, like treasure in a jar of clay. Neither do we have to weary ourselves trying to please Him. If we are his children, he is already pleased with us.

The middle ground is to live by grace. God’s grace isn’t only available to save us but also available so we can effectively live the Christian life. Yet grace is sometimes difficult to accept. Free gifts aren’t as easy to receive as one might think. Flannery O’Connor said, “All human nature vigorously resists grace because grace changes us and the change is painful.” Painful because grace changes our perception of ourselves. We aren’t as self-sufficient as we thought.

Still, as we accept God’s grace on a daily basis, it empowers us to be God’s light, like a treasure in a jar of clay.