If you have ever tried to make a clay vessel of any sort you know that it can be tedious work. The clay must be the right consistency; it needs to be kneaded just the right amount before you are able to work with it; it should be centered on a spinning wheel correctly; your hands can’t be too wet nor too dry; you must apply just the right amount of pressure while forming your vessel or it won’t turn out right; and finally, a clay vessel needs to be made strong, and permanently changed, through exposure to the high heat. Creating a clay vessel takes a lot of work and a lot of dedication. In skilled hands a shapeless lump of clay can become a beautiful work of art.
Our lives are similar to a lump of clay. We are shaped by many things… the environment, our parents, our friends, our jobs, our everyday experiences, and of course our faith. Like the lump of clay these things mold us, unfortunately not everything that molds us will do so with the hope that one day we will become a work of art. Some aspects of our lives that mold us wish to shape us into something that perhaps we should not be. Often we look at what we’ve become and can’t even identify or recognize ourselves anymore. We wonder what has happened to us. We have let the wrong people or things have a greater influence in our lives than what they should. They have helped mold us into something we are not called to be.
When we allow our Father to be the potter who molds us we become truly amazing works of art. We may not understand all that He is doing with us, why He is sculpting us in a certain way, or why we must endure all that we do but He has a vision for what we will become. He is greater than any artist that has ever lived (or will ever live!).What He sees that we cannot is so beautiful and magnificent. His vision for us far exceeds any hope or dream we could ever have ourselves. He wants so much for us! When we trust in Him to lead us we know He will change us into something greater than ourselves.
If we know that God wants so much for us and is willing to shape us into such masterpieces why do we fight Him and allow so many other influences in our lives to take over? Is it because it is easy to trust what we can see instead of what we cannot? Is it because it is easy to grab tightly to things we can actually hold in our hands? Or perhaps it is because we know with the Father as our potter we may have to face the fire which will strengthen us and permanently change us? That is a scary thought sometimes. Knowing that when we choose to follow Christ, when we choose to love God above all, when we choose to allow Him to guide our lives in everything we do we are also choosing to walk through fire, many will choose let others mold and shape them instead of the Father. They choose to settle for less. They choose to not see their full potential. They may be beautiful but they will never become the masterpiece they could be at the hands of the perfect potter.
We have a choice to make. We have to choose who we will allow to mold us, to sculpt us, and perfect us. Will we allow the outside world, whose view of beauty pales in comparison to the Father’s and who doesn’t take the time to gently and carefully shape us, transform us into something other than what is ultimately planned for us? Or will we allow God to skillfully and delicately hold us in His hands while He works to smooth and shape us into the most beautiful vessel we can imagine?
During the upcoming Lenten season I urge you to give yourself to God. Allow Him to use this special time to show you how beautiful you can become. We know that during Lent we hope to be transformed. We use this time to see where we can make changes in our lives to move into a closer and deeper relationship with God. Become a piece of clay in the Potter’s Hands. Let God mold you and shape you into a beautiful vessel. Don’t be afraid of the fire that you may endure to strengthen and perfect you. That fire is important! Without it you cannot be permanently changed. We want to be permanently changed so that we become the masterpiece God has envisioned for us. We will be changed from a formless lump of clay into a beautiful vessel in which the Lord will dwell.
“But now, O LORD, You are our Father, We are the clay, and You our potter; And all of us are the work of Your hand.” Isaiah 64:8