The Potter Has a Purpose

Last month I asked, “What makes you weep or pound the table?” and made the point that the answer to that question says a lot about you, how God made you, and what God has in mind for you.

Let’s talk more about that.  We’re touching on a core truth here:

What God has in mind for you can be seen in how He made you.

That means we do well to take some time and make an effort to understand ourselves.  This oft-quoted maxim has been attributed to various authors, but it’s profoundly true: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”

So we ask ourselves, “What did God put within me?  How did He make me?”    I believe strongly that the unique way God made each of us says a lot about what He has in mind for us to do and be in His Kingdom.  God didn’t make you as He did by accident, but on purpose and with purpose.

Let’s dive into that…

We were made by God.

If you’ve been around church and God and the Bible for long, then there probably isn’t a more elementary truth than this one for you, but nonetheless it is an important one.  You and I were made, indeed handcrafted, by God Himself.

Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)

When we make this fact our beginning truth and God’s intentions our starting point, then we avoid the human foolishness of thinking we can be self-made people.

You turn things upside down, as if the potter were thought to be like the clay!
Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, “You did not make me”?
Can the pot say to the potter, “You know nothing”?  (Isaiah 29:16)

The fact is, the potter knows everything, and He knows what He’s doing.  He made us in His image and the Spirit’s work in us through Christ is to remake us in that same divine image.

We have strengths and gifts.

Each of us has a unique portfolio of talents and natural abilities.  These are our strengths.  Lots of good and helpful stuff has been written about the importance of discovering and leveraging our strengths.

As we live in Christ we find that the Spirit awakens within us power and supernatural abilities.  These are our gifts.

We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. (Romans 12:6-8)

Taken together, our natural strengths and spiritual gifts can become a potent force for good in this world.  So taking inventory of these strengths and gifts is a powerful step in determining what good we each are to be about.

We have weaknesses and wounds.

This is a step we must take as we walk and mature in Christ.  We must honestly confront where we are inadequate, where we are susceptible to  temptation, where we simply fall short.

Of course we’ve all fallen short of deserving God’s grace, all have fallen short of God’s glory the Bible says.  I’m talking about understanding that in our ongoing lives, in our discipleship, we have weakness and wounds that are uniquely ours and cannot be ignored.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)

Spend time in identifying your weaknesses.  Do not ignore them.  Acknowledge that you cannot be talented in all areas.  What you’re not good at can be just as telling as what you are good at when it comes to discovering your purpose.

And don’t forget your wounds.  Let God use them.  The trials you’ve endured have their own special work to do in your life and through you in the lives of others.

Don’t miss it.

We miss it and get the idea, if not in our minds then at least in our behaviors, that life on earth is all there really is, and we spend so much of our thought and action and resources on finite and temporary things.

We miss it and believe that our gifts and talents exist first to make us wealthy or self-actualized, instead of first being in us to share and show God’s love and reality.

We miss it and see our weakness and wounds as things to avoid and ignore instead of the points of ultimate power that they can be.

Let’s not miss it.

The LORD will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O LORD, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.  (Psalm 138:8)

He will not abandon us, the works of His hands, for what God has in mind for us can be seen in how He made us.

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