I have been taking pottery classes with my mom for over a year now. It has become the highlight of my life each week. I thoroughly enjoy the process and the people I have encountered, not to mention spending quality time with my mom. One of the things I love most about clay is that I can reshape the clay if it starts to look deformed or not like what I had envisioned it to be. I have done this many times, which usually results in a finished product that I can be proud of. I can’t help but think about how the Lord has done this many times to me, remolding me over and over again only to see something He is proud of.
In Jeremiah 18:1-4, the Lord tells him to go to the potter’s house to hear His words. Jeremiah says, “Then I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was, making something at the wheel. And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so he made it again into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to make."
As I read this passage, I couldn’t help but notice that the potter took the same clay and molded it again into something that was good in his eyes. He could have looked at it and said, "Look at you. You're good for nothing. I can't use you. What purpose do you have? How can you be used in such a state?” Or he could have looked at it and said, ”You poor thing. You’re so messed up. If only you would have stayed on the wheel. If only you would have listened to my voice. If only you would have allowed my hands to shape you. Now there’s nothing I can do for you because you messed yourself up.”
How many times does the deceiver send that message your way? How many times does he accuse you of such or make you feel so guilty that there’s nothing that can be done? How many times does he say to you, "You're worthless; you're garbage and need to be thrown away"?
You see, the potter could have thrown the lump of marred clay away, but he didn’t! He looked at the clay and saw good! God looked at YOU and saw good! You see, the Lord God is the potter of our lives. If we let Him, He will reshape us into good. He created our vessels for good. Sin marred our vessels for evil, but God looked at us and said, ”You are beautiful! I can see what you can become. I can take what was meant for evil and turn it into something meant for good. It will be painful. I will have to take you off the wheel and knead you several times to re-form you so that I can put you back on the wheel to reshape you. If you trust Me, I will make you a vessel to be used over and over again … a vessel with a purpose.”
How many times have you heard the Lord say that to you? Are you listening to Him or have you turned a deaf ear to His love for you? I can testify that listening to God is not easy. My flesh is so used to sin. My flesh is comfortable being marred. It’s hard for my selfish ways to be reshaped. Many times my mind is in a battle, being kneaded either for good or for evil, depending on whether I trust God or I trust myself more.
Who do you trust more?
Is it worth it?
Trusting God is a decision YOU must make. It isn’t going to be easy. You will be uncomfortable as you allow the Lord to mold you because your flesh will fight against you. Your selfishness will complain; your greed for the lusts of this world will moan and groan, and your mind will whine like a child with phrases like ... "I don’t want to. Give me what I want. Give me what I want!" The thing is, the potter will not force you. You have to be moldable. You have to be willing to be kneaded His way; otherwise, the Master Potter cannot mold you.
The reason why the kneading process is so necessary is because the potter is trying to get all of the air bubbles out of the clay. The air bubbles can cause deformity in the clay as it is shaped. It can cause a vessel to be marred as it is molded. You see, that is why the kneading process is so painful. The air bubbles represent the sin in our lives. When the Lord kneads us, He is trying to knead out the sin with His gentle hands and loving words. This only happens when we come to Him and say, "Forgive me, Lord, of my sin. Forgive me of my selfish ways. I want to live a life for good and not evil. I want to be reshaped into a vessel of purpose. I trust you to do that. I give you my marred vessel. I am willing to be kneaded no matter how painful it may be. I give You my life and ask You to form me into a beautiful piece of art.”
A beautiful piece of art … that’s what I want to be. I know you do too. Would you do me a favor? Would you examine your heart? What state are you in right now? Are you moldable or unmoldable? Would you meditate on those questions for a while and then talk to the Lord about them? I know it’s not easy thinking about really uncomfortable, hard questions like this, but I can testify that it is worth it. In fact, to be honest, I’m doing the same thing right now. You’re not alone in this. I too am struggling. Together, we can come to the Lord, lay it all down, and allow Him to make us into something good ...
into a beautiful piece of art.
From my heart to yours,
Not long ago, it was prom time at the Lockwood Lair. Two of our three daughters headed out for a night of fun with their friends. I think one of the hardest parts of preparing for that night was dress shopping. Abbie and Alex tried on close to twenty dresses each, several during a trip to Missouri. They both have different tastes, but for fun they would try on the same dress. What looked great on one made the other one look like they were playing dress up. As I was watching the dress picking process and giving my humble opinion as a mom, I couldn't help but think of the verses in Colossians 3 that talk about our spiritual wardrobe.
When we become Christians, Christ-followers, we are given a new wardrobe. Our old sinful nature doesn't fit us any more. Paul says in Colossians 3:9-10 (The Message) "You're done with that old life. It's like a filthy set of ill-fitting clothes you've stripped off and put in the fire. Now you are dressed in a new wardrobe." God strips us of that old life and gives us a new one. We undergo a transformation. I love the illustration of throwing our ill-fitting clothes in a fire. It means we are completely getting rid of it never to wear it again. Besides, who doesn't want a new wardrobe?
Paul continues in verse 11 saying, "Every item in your new wardrobe is custom made by the Creator, with His label on it. The old fashions are now obsolete ... from now on every one is defined by Christ ..." I can just imagine the label saying "Made especially for you, handcrafted by the Father." We are no longer defined by the world, but by God. We are chosen by Him for a new life of love.
Paul even tells us the items that are in our new wardrobe. In Colossians 3:12-14 he instructs us to "Dress in the wardrobe God has picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear LOVE (emphasis mine). It is your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it." As I write this, I'm being convicted. Am I always "wearing" love? Do I show compassion? Humility? Am I disciplined? No, no, no and NO. Why not? I think sometimes I try to pull out my old wardrobe. I look in the mirror and see my new clothes through the lenses of my past. I let the past dictate what I will wear, sometimes trying to mix and match the two wardrobes. Ill fitting clothes DO NOT go with custom made, tailored ones. I think that is why Paul instructs us to "burn" them. We can't wear them again and shouldn't want to either.
A new spiritual wardrobe is ours for the asking. God is waiting to dress us; all we have to do is trust Him and let Him do the work. We are the most beautiful version of ourselves when we are dressed in Christ's love and righteousness.
Embrace life to the fullest,
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