Friday, August 14, 2009

Thou Art the Potter

"And be not conformed to this world:
but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind,
that ye may prove what is that good,
and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:2

There was a time when I used to sculpt things out of polymer clay. The particular clay I used started out hard and stiff, but the more I pressed against it, the heat from my hands warmed it, and it would become softer and more pliable. Eventually it would get so warm that it would even impress my fingerprints if I held it with too much pressure. The clay would conform to whatever shape my fingers wanted it to become.

Like the clay, we are meant to conform, to transform, to be changed. As believers, we are not to remain stagnant, but are to grow, to be renewed --day by day. (2Corinthians 4:16)

The issue is, like that clay in my hands, we will conform to that to which we are the closest. If we immerse ourselves in the ways of the world, we will find the "fingerprints" of the "prince of this world" will eventually be found upon us.

Oh, at first we will be hard against his pressure. We will be unyielding and stiff, sure in our convictions and beliefs. But if continue to "give place to the devil", soon those ways won't seem quite so wrong. A dear friend of ours said, when he was only about ten or twelve, that "the devil tries to make good things seem bad and bad things seem good." As we continue to feel that continual pressure, it will begin to slowly meld us, mold us, shape us -- almost without us even being aware of it. Until we are so like the world that we are no longer distinguishable as a Christian.

We have all had that happen. We will find out an acquaintance knows the Lord and we will be surprised. Why are we surprised? Because their life showed no difference from the lives of those who don't profess to be Christians.

Our transformation is to be a renewal, a change from glory, to glory:

"But we all, with open face
beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord,
are changed into the same image
from glory to glory,
even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
2Corinthians 3:18

We are to be conformed, not to the world, but to the image of the Lord Jesus. If by closeness to the world and its temptations we become conformed to it, how do we become conformed to the Lord Jesus?

By closeness to and immersion in the things concerning the Lord. Reading the Scriptures, prayer, fellowship with other believers -- these things keep our clay molded by the Holy Spirit. But there is one thing more.

We must have a willing heart to be molded, to be changed. This requires a spirit of humility. The prideful heart will not want to be changed, it will seek its own way, the way of independence.

"I don't want to be told what to do!" is the phrase I have heard from even Christians who would otherwise state that they want the Lord's will for their lives. "I'm going to do it my way," is another of those statements. Then there are the Christians who stage the silent rebellion. Yes, they read their Bibles. And they pray. They attend church. They do not verbalize their desire for independence and their disrespect for the Lord's authority in their lives. . .but they don't follow it either. They grow that resentment and bitterness in their hearts like a secret garden, cultivated and tendered daily. They are not warm, pliable clay. They have been transformed to the world just as much as the person who performs the outwardly deeds.

The question is, when life is over and we stand before Him at last, who do you want to look like?

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,
whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely,
whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,
think on these things."
Philippians 4:8


Anonymous said...

"at first we will be hard against his pressure. We will be unyielding and stiff, sure in our convictions and beliefs"

How true. It hurts to think of all the times I closed my eyes and mind to enhance the strength of my resistance.

Frances Davis said...

Nickie,it took a long time for me to make that little bear, and it's taking a lot longer for the Lord to mold and shape me. I'm glad He doesn't give up on me as I have been known to do with the clay!