Isaiah 64:8 Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
I picked this verse, not because I love the verse but because I love the song that was inspired by this verse. They hymn, Have Thine Own Way, is one of my favorite songs we sing in church. I have always liked the lyrics of that song and the mental image I get when I sing it.
The song starts with the words “Have Thine Own Way.” Those are hard words to say and really mean! So many times we want things to be the way we want them! We have our “plan” all figured out and are working to make it the way we want it or think it should be. The problem is our plan isn’t the right plan. His plan is the right plan for our life. Even if it goes against what we think we need or what we think is right. We have to surrender our heart and life to him. The only way we can really do that is by continuously communicating with him through prayer and spending time in His word. I can often see the effects of not spending enough time with him in my own life. I struggle a with not trying to do things “Matt’s way.” I try to take things into my own hands, saying I am sure this is what God wants for me, when I haven’t been discussing it and allowing him to shape me.
The greatest example I can give of this in my life started when I was a teenager. If ever I heard God speak to me I heard him at church camp one year. He wanted me to be a Pastor. I even came back from camp and did a sermon (I think the length of it would make it better suited to be called a devotional) in front of the church on Youth Night. I loved doing it. It just felt right and like what God wanted me to do. The problem started when He started showing me these different colleges he possibly wanted me to go to, out of state! Then started the Matt manipulation! Well God I would really like to be a teacher! You know as a teacher and coach I have a different opportunity to reach out and touch kids lives in a new way, some who don’t go to church even. So off I went, running from God but chasing my own dreams. Trying to mold my life into what I wanted it to be.
Then a few years into my teaching I got a phone call. Someone was asking me to fill in preaching for him. It was Bob Bethell, the one person I couldn’t say no to. God sure knew what he was doing there, some serious molding. After several times of filling in for him and feeling Gods shaping hands again trying to mold me into what he wanted Bob and I started the transition of him slowing down preaching and me doing more and more preaching. Sadly Bob’s death thrusted me into a more full-time bi-vocational position preaching, but I love it. I enjoy the opportunity I am given to study and share God’s word. I love learning what I get to share, because no one needs to hear it more than I do! Finally God was having his way with my life. I continue to pray that prayer when I sing the song, “Have Thine Own Way” but sadly there are still times I try to fight for “Matt’s Way.” As many of you probably know, His way is always better! Maybe not always easy, but better.
The next part of the song says, “Though art the potter I am the clay, mold me and make me, after thy will, while I am waiting yielded and still.”
I have had the privilege of seeing some of Mr Schneider’s Art students work with clay. It is so amazing how they can take a lump of clay and make it into something so beautiful. That is exactly what God is wanting to do with each of us. He is wanting to shape, pinch and mold each of us into something beautiful that glorifies Him. The problem is, the process can be difficult. The clay goes through a lot to be shaped into what it is supposed to be. As Christians we have to remember sometimes we have to go through a lot to be shaped into what he wants us to be. When we try to shape ourselves it often requires some drastic reworking by his all knowing hands.
Again the focus is on His will and His plan for our life. For His will to happen we have to do what the song says and “yield” to him. We have to be still and not try to change, twist and manipulate our life based on our desires, our needs, our guilt or our shame. We have to be still and allow him to work in our life and create what He longs for us to be.
One of the things I really like about the imagery of the song is probably something some haven’t thought about. A potter makes a pot. A pot is what? It is hollow. It has open space on the inside. What is cool is the part of the final verse of the hymn that says “Fill With Thy Spirit.” We are the pot that he is forming and we are filled with the Holy Spirit. It helps us hold our shape, it helps us be what he has called us to be. It gives us the power to know and follow his will for our life.
Are you allowing the potter to shape you or are you trying to shape yourself?
Are you filling your pot with the Holy Spirit or with the things of this word?
Are you letting God have his way with your life?
(BTW – Hannah didn’t proof this post for me so please forgive my mistakes)