In the book of Jeremiah 18: 1-6
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Arise, and go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 And the vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as it seemed good to the potter to do.
5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.
The potter’s wheel was a common sight in the ancient Near East, not so much a hobby as an essential element for making useful things. This process was very familiar to the people.
In the Bible God is comparing himself to the Potter and using the clay as a metaphor for our life. He is shaping us to be loved. He is shaping us to receive his love, to contain his love, to dispense his love. He is giving our lives purpose in the shaping.
Everyone that exists has a purpose, a goal, a reason for being. God is not whimsical or frivolous. Nor is his purpose ever in jeopardy, for he says in Isaiah 46:10, “My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.”
He shapes us to Receive His Love.
Before the beginning of time, God knew the people he first created would fail and fall and sin. They would crack and have defects like clay and need reworked. He knew they would make choices that would earn them death. Choices that would go against who God is and create deep insecurities inside them.
So God created a plan through his Son Jesus Christ. He began shaping each of us to receive that plan and step into redemption. I believe Jesus offers a way to be redeemed and cleansed and free to each of us. He has shaped us to receive this love. There is no one on planet earth that can’t believe or receive God’s love, only those who choose not to.
God sent Jesus Christ, his only son, to earth. While he was here he brought some heaven with him. He healed the sick, he loved the unlovable, he taught his friends about his Father. Then when the time was right, He was crucified and died on a cross. In his blood shed, our sins were forgiven. The sins of the past, the sins of the present and the sins of the future. All of eternity was changed forever. He made a way to heaven for the blobs of clay, broken and sinful, like us.
Very simply, we just receive his love. We are designed for it. If you have never received Jesus’ love for you, you can do it right now. You can do it from your seat. You were shaped to do it, it may feel unnatural to your flesh but your heart will know it well. Just say, Jesus I need you. I need you to save me from myself. Help me receive your love, I know I’m shaped for it.
If you already have received God’s love whisper a soft Thank you to Jesus.
After we do that the Scripture declares that the Holy Spirit will bear witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. This inner testimony of the Holy Spirit will assure you that you have received his love.
He shapes us to Contain His Love.
In verse 4, the vessel of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand and he had to rework it.
Often in the shaping of a pot some defect or crack would become obvious—a defect in size or shape or in the texture of the clay or in some pollutant. The potter might then squash the developing pot into a blob of clay and begin all over again. Have you ever felt like a squashed piece of clay? Have you felt like a blob with no purpose?
In those moments, the potter is shaping you to be loved. He is reworking you. He is creating you into the person he wants you to be. He will do that this semester. He’s been doing it your whole life.
You can resist it. Or you can surrender to it.
Not only does God own everything on earth but he also owns us absolutely. We are the clay and he is the potter and he may do with us exactly as he pleases. Romans 9 speaks about the potter and clay again and it says: 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’”
Have you ever said that to God?
Take your spiritual temperature here. If this is sweet to you and you readily submit to God’s ownership, it is the mark of grace and maturity in your life. But if this is offensive to you and you resent the thought of God having an absolute right to do with you as he pleases, it is a mark of rebellion and of need for repentance.
For the very essence of rebellion is the desire to assert our own right’s over or against Gods and determine our own life. But the rise of faith is the collapse of rebellion. The total surrender to the will of our Creator, our owner. After all, verse 4 ends like this: as it seemed good to the Potter to do.
Do we trust that God has the best in mind of us? And He can be trusted with our whole lives? He will fight FOR us and He will work GOOD for us. We don’t have to resist his sovereignty as the Potter. We have to surrender to the shaping. We will contain His love in the surrender.
He shapes us to Dispense His Love.
This semester our entire theme is LOVE OUT LOUD. God has shaped us to be ambassadors of Him. In fact, that’s what Chi Alpha means: Christ’s Ambassadors.
His whole design is for one person to tell one person, to tell one person, to tell one person, and on and on. After all that’s how you got here tonight, somewhere along the line, someone told you about who God was.
I don’ t mean rule ambassadors or Bible thumping ambassadors or make people feel guilty about how they live ambassadors. That’s not love. And that’s not XA
Love is fighting for someone when they don’t even know they need fought for.
Love is gracefully saying I forgive you, when someone hurts you.
Love is taking someone to the ER when it’s inconvenient and it’s not your job.
Love is writing an encouraging note on a fb wall.
Love is telling someone when they are about to make a terrible decision in gentleness.
Love is sacrificing time and energy to lead a small group or play on a worship team or serve in some way.
Love is hanging on when it would be easier to let go.
Love is finding time to listen to a friend’s perspective that you don’t agree with completely.
Love is not participating in a conversation that is tearing someone down.
Love is being non judgmental. Period.
Love is inviting people to experience community that is God centered (afterall he invented Love)
Insert 1000 more examples here.
He shapes us to dispense Love.
Will you join us in XA this year in dispensing LOVE to this campus? We need each other. Let’s do it together. We are SHAPED to be LOVED