Each week in our current sermon series, What Are We So Afraid Of?, we examine a specific fear with which many of us struggle. Through this, we see how following Jesus and living according to God’s Word will help us overcome that fear. At the same time, in our men’s and women’s discipleship groups, we are going through a study called The Course of Your Life. That program helps us see who God is, who we are and the implications of both, according to the teachings found in Scripture.
This week, my mind has been caught in the convergence of these two themes. Who is God and who are we? Isaiah 64:8 tells us:
But now, O LORD, you are our Father;
we are the clay, and you are our potter;
we are all the work of your hand.
This illustration shows up multiple times in the Bible. God is our loving, creative maker and we are His dependent creatures, not the other way around. “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.” Jeremiah 18:6. Our God is the one who molds and shapes us and we are designed by Him for a particular purpose—to proclaim His glory and receive great joy—as determined by Him and not us. In fact, the Bible points out the utter ridiculousness of trying to flip this around. “Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?” Isaiah 45:9. The clay complaining to the potter is a strange visual indeed.
As Christians, we often talk about the need to “turn our lives over to God,” giving Him control of our plans and our futures instead of white-knuckling our own grip on it all.
As Christians, we often talk about the need to “turn our lives over to God,” giving Him control of our plans and our futures instead of white-knuckling our own grip on it all. Why do we struggle to do that? Fear. We are fearful of allowing the Lord to run our lives (following His Word and listening to the prompting of the Holy Spirit in prayer) because we believe it is such an enormous risk to give up our perceived control. What if God calls us to make big changes in our lives? What if Jesus wants us to reprioritize the way we approach, well, everything? He may.
The truth is, we should be fearful only when we try to hang on to control. Think about it. Nothing is riskier than the ill-equipped and unqualified clay taking the helm. And more than that, as our Potter rules our lives, He promises to do so in love, mercy and grace. For as the Psalmist says:
The LORD is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
Psalm 145:8-9. The more we believe He is the true, loving Potter and we are the clay, the more we will find joy and freedom in being the clay. Our fear subsides as our faith grows.
In what areas of your life are you maintain tight control of, trying to push God to the edges or keep Him out entirely? We all have them. This week, loosen your fearful grasp on your own life and trust the loving Father more.
With praise to our great God,