Believe it or not, when I graduated from high school, I graduated in the Honor’s Society, “Art” honor’s society that is. Not that I was an exceptional artist or anything, but I had taken four years of art as an elective and maintained at certain GPA. So in my senior year of high school, I was automatically enrolled in the Art Honor’s Society and graduated that year with a special honor.
In art class I was introduced to all kinds of mediums for creating art, as well as learning about the art history that went along with what we were studying. My favorite medium became clay. I just fell in love with pottery class. Our classroom did not have one of those fancy wheels used for making bowls, vases, etc. Instead, everything we made was directly formed from our hands.
I loved digging into a bag of wet mud (clay), pulling out a big chunk, and then forming it into something spectacular and fun. When I would create, things would not always turn out quite like I had anticipated. That was the beauty of working with clay, if I didn’t like the turnout, I could just squash the project and begin again.
Once I had a project finished and to my liking, I would then paint it with glaze and put it into the kiln for the firing process. The kiln would heat the clay and turn it into a glass-like form, all beautiful, colorful and shiny. I still can remember the anticipation of waiting for the firing process to be completed. The firing would take hours, but the wait would be so worth it. I remember being so excited to get back to class the next time to see my finished work of art or stopping by later in the day to take a sneak peek.
This whole process of creating art from nothing reminds me of the work of the Lord in my own life. In Genesis 2:7, it says that God formed man from the dust of the earth. God is our creator and we are all works of his creation. Several places in scripture (mainly in Isaiah and Jeremiah) it talks about us being as “clay” in the hands of the potter. God is the great potter, our creator, and he is the one working in us to will and to do according to His purpose. HIS purpose, not ours (Philippians 2:13).
As clay, we are not a blob of nothingness, for were created and we are held by the Master’s hands. It is our job to submit to the potter and to remain pliable and soft so that he may form us. That was his plan from the beginning, it talks about in Psalm 139:13, “You created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb and then in verse 14 goes on to say, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . .
When we are not being formed by God and being transformed by his word, we become like the world. Just as clay that is not worked, it becomes dry, hardened and cracks. As God’s children, when we turn away from God or don’t follow his plan for our lives, he sometimes does a “do over” or has to start again with us, as in reworking the clay. He allows circumstances in our lives to turn us from sin and to fix our eyes upon him and he wants us to respond in obedience to him. God uses his word and the work of his hands to transform us into his beautiful creation (2 Timothy 3:16).
God’s work within us is a continual process. Once we accept his free gift of salvation, the work begins. At that point we place ourselves in God’s hands and the molding and forming process begins. It is God’s desire that we be transformed to his image (2 Corinthians 3:18) and this will be a lifelong process. It is a beautiful thing to understand and contemplate. Being held in the master’s hands implies submitting your will to his so that he may work in you to do what is pleasing to him and it is through the power of the Holy Spirit within us that he does this.
To me, the potter and the clay is beautiful imagery of Christ’s working within us. Our part is to remain “In Him” submitted to his will so that we are workable and receptive to his hand in our lives. He is shaping us to be valuable vessels conformed to his image and to be used for his kingdom purposes.
Father God thank you for who you are and how you work in our lives. Thank you that you continue to mold us into the people you desire us to be. Without you I am nothing, a dead lump of clay. But in your hands I am being transformed into something beautiful. Help me to remain mold-able, as pliable as clay in your hands. I put my complete trust in you and thank you for the finished work of the cross the and great price you paid for me. Help remind me often, that I have been bought with a price and that because of that, I am yours. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN
Isaiah 64:8 And yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter. We are all formed by your hand.
Jeremiah 18:6 House of Israel, can’t I do with you as this potter? says Yahweh. Behold as the clay in the potter hand, so you are in my hand, house of Israel.
2 Corinthians 4:7 But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.
Psalm 40: 2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
Psalm 12:6 The LORD’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over.