Summary: A look at struggles we have with the idea that God gets to shape us rather than us being in charge of our lives ourselves. What does it mean to let Him shape us like a potter shapes the clay?
WHAT GIVES YOU THE RIGHT TO BRING THAT INTO MY LIFE? We want to be shaped in the way we choose.
- It can be painful to be shaped.
- Like a potter pressing his fingers into the clay to mold it into a different shape would probably not “feel good” to the clay if it were sentient, so the way that God shapes us something creates discomfort in our lives.
- Partly this is driven by our culture, which is big into the idea that we have the right to call the shots for ourselves.
- We resent the idea of someone else making claims over our lives.
- Who knows better for us than we do?
- Further, some of reject outright that God should be attempting to shape us at all.
- We believe that what we signed up for is being “saved,” which to our minds means being unchanged. We asked to be saved, not to be shaped.
TWO THINGS TO CONSIDER:
1. Being reshaped is a good thing for something that was “spoiled.”
- Jeremiah 18:4 – “marred.”
- The NIV says that the pot the potter was working on was “marred.” Other versions share it as “spoiled.”
- That gets us to the idea that the pot was not as it should have been. It was not beautiful in its present condition. It needed some work.
- We need some work. We have sin hurting us. We have our natural habits pushing us off track. We are not where we need to be.
- We have to admit that we’re “spoiled.”
- This goes back to the idea that’s clear from Jesus’ ministry that it was those with the most messed-up lives who were the most open to Jesus’ message. When we know we’re spoiled, we’re far more willing to be eager to have someone re-work us.
- For many of us, the biggest thing standing in the way of God’s work in our lives is our effort to justify our own sins and try to be satisfied with where we are right now.
2. If you’re going to be reshaped, let a master do it.
- Jeremiah 18:4 – “as seemed best to him.”
- Don’t “do it yourself.” Call in a master workman.
- We don’t know what we’re doing. We’re flying by the seat of our pants. We’re making it up as we go along.
- “We are His workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10).
- We are the masterpiece that God is working on.
- Cf. the Christmas macaroni tree as the pinnacle of my very-limited artistic ability.
- Old song: “A Touch Of The Master’s Hand.”
- Or: play a little on the piano poorly and then compare it to someone who can play well.
LIVING WITH THOSE CONSIDERATIONS: Rather than just begrudgingly accepting shaping, we should eagerly embrace it.
- Jeremiah 18:5-6, 7-10.
- It’s like having Hawking offer to help you with your science project.
- It’s like have Michelson offer to help you with your wedge game.
- It’s like having Paula Deen offer to help you cook dinner.
- It’s like having Si help you brew your iced tea.
- Ways that God shapes:
b. The Word.
g. Disciplines (spiritual disciplines).
h. Discipline (when we stray).
- One reason this is hard is that change brings stress. Even positive changes brings stress (adding a baby to the family, getting a better job, etc.)
- This is a positive change that God is pursuing – shaping us – but even at that it can be stressful.
- It’s an incredible offer: God wants to work in your life.
- How God shapes us depends on our malleability.
- If we’re working against Him, He’ll work things one way.
- If we’re working with Him, He’ll work things another way.
- Some of us force Him to work with us dragging our heels every step of the way.
- Trust is a big issue here.
- What God says in v. 2 is a good example of the process. He is called to go to the house and then he will get the message. The trust and obedient action comes first and then the outcome arrives.
- That’s similar to what we’re looking at in the larger picture: you have to trust Him and start this process not knowing what the final “product” is going to look like.
IF I SAY OK TO THIS, WHAT'S HE GOING TO SHAPE ME INTO? God’s intent is to shape us into Christlikeness.
- The goal is straightforward: to form us into Christlikeness.
- It’s important that we understand that because many Christians don’t realize that’s what they’re after. They’re just kind of hanging out waiting on heaven to roll around.