GOD’S WORK IN US
Anita Clark – Pastor – Carbondale, KS
The example used in the Old Testament of the “Potter and the clay” is especially illustrative of God’s marvelous work in the hearts and lives of His people, whether Israel or the believers of the Church today. Isaiah. 64:8 says, “But now O LORD, Thou art the Potter, and we are the work of Thy hand.” God, Creator made man from the dust of the ground. Genesis 2:7 says, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.” The word “formed” is a word that means “to mold into form especially as a potter.”
In Jeremiah 18:1-6, the prophet was told to go down to the potter’s house, and God was going to cause him to hear His words. We too can hear the words of the Lord through the illustration of the Potter and the Clay. Notice verse 3, “Then, I went down to the potter’s house, and, behold He wrought a work on the wheel.” Just as God molded Adam out of the dust of the earth, God works in all His children. In this particular Scripture, God is speaking of His work on Israel at that time. Notice verse 4, “And the vessel that He made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter; so He made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.” This verse though written of Israel is applicable to believers today. God is working a divine work in each of our lives.
In Romans 9:20, Apostle Paul says, “Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonor.” We are the vessels that God has formed. Some may have a more honorable place in the Church than others, but God is in control, and calls some to one ministry and others to something else. We have to learn that God is the Potter, and He is bringing about through His skilled hand as the Master Potter His own divine will. He has the power over the clay. We should not question the work of God in our lives.
Isaiah 45:9 speaks of the “potsherds” striving with the Maker (God). This is speaking of Israel who was as broken pot (just broken pieces - potsherds) at the time of this prophecy, but we can also apply this verse to ourselves. We should not “strive with our Maker,” questioning His work in our lives, saying, “God are you sure you know what you are doing?” We are often a helpless, broken pot. A song says, “He is the Potter, We are the clay, Mold me and make me, this is what I say. Change my heart, O God...Make me just like You.”
The Potter, our Maker, is working in us to change us into His own image. When a Potter begins to work with the clay, the first thing he does is to work the air bubbles out. This is called “wedging.” This takes some time in the Potter’s hands, and the clay is still a glob, but pliable in the Master’s hands. Next comes the molding or shaping of the clay, which either is done on a wheel or just by coiling the clay to make whatever it is that the Master wants to make. The clay is kept moist by the Potter using water as he works. The Master’s hands are always holding the clay and working with the clay. When the desired shape is produced, the Master fires the clay. Without firing, the clay pot will never be usable. The firing is at very high temperature in a kiln, the oven that will bring forth a usable pot. After the firing then comes the staining or painting. This is where the beauty comes to the pot. Then, the pot must be fired again to perfect the staining. Of course there are many different kinds of pots, some beautiful, just to display on a shelf, but others which are more practical and useful. Think about this and realize why God used this illustration of “The Potter and the clay.”
How does God work in our lives, as the Potter of the clay? Apostle Paul exhorts in I Thessalonians 2:12-13- “That ye would walk worthy of God, Who hath called you into His kingdom and glory. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the Word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” As we take in the Word of God, it does a work in us, as the Potter does His work with the clay, an “effectual work,” which in the Gk. Means, an “active, fervent and mighty” work. Ephesians 4:16 speaks of this “effectual work.” which brings “...increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” The Potter knows exactly what He is doing.
In Ephesians 3:20, Paul speaks of “...the power that worketh in us.” This is the Holy Spirit power that the Potter uses to transform us into Christ’s image. Philippians 2:13 says, “For it is God which worketh in you, both to will (to determine) and to do of His good pleasure.” God uses many things to shape us and mold us into the image of Christ. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28).
“For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal: but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Cor. 4:16-18).
Ephesians 1:11 tells us, “...according to the purpose of Him Who worketh all things after the counsel of His own will.” There is no one who is all knowing and all powerful as God. Verse 19 speaks of the “exceeding greatness of His mighty power to usward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.”
Philippians 3:21 says, “Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby He is able to subdue all things unto Himself.” Note the word, “working” which in the Gk. Means “efficiency (energy) operation or the effectual working.” How can a believer expect to be changed into the likeness of Jesus Christ? The Potter is on the job. Praise God! He is the power that works in us to giving us the ability and strength required to be an overcomer, changed into the likeness of the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord!