The God who forms our character   Leave a comment

The Potter and the clay

The Potter and the clay

What sorrow awaits those who argue with their Creator.Does a clay pot argue with its maker? Does the clay dispute with the one who shapes it, saying,‘Stop, you’re doing it wrong!’Does the pot exclaim,‘How clumsy can you be?’ Isaiah 45:9

God has always been working to form the character of his people(Jer 18:4, Deut. 8:2)

I heard Christians say that they have such a bad character and temper and that they just can’t change it. They resist God . This is a lie and the devil likes this kind of statu quo. I know very well an orphan who faced terrible things in her youth and was ill-treated by her husband for years. She had lot of difficulties and did not like herself. The psychiatrist told her that she was a victim of her past experience and gave her pills to ‘relieve’ her. These pills made her even more aggressive and many times she attempted suicide. People would say that the events in her life made her a monster.

She has been going to church for years. Christians have been praying for her and many of them gave up because she no longer wanted to live. Non-Christian would explain this deformed character through psychology. God did a miracle some few months ago in her life.  This aggressive lion became a meek sheep. Now she prays, she has a smile on her face and is different. Those who do not know her now still have a bad opinion of her.

On the day of judgement this woman would never have been able to justify her bad character or her sins because of the bad things which happened to her. This woman is my mother. Bad experiences cannot be used as a pretext for Christians to have a bad character. We do have different personalities and background for God in His wisdom did not create clones. As Christians we should be transformed.

Your parents or friends have probably deformed your character. You have perhaps a bad temper, you are rebellious and disobedient. If you say you’re a Christian, there is no excuse to continue living in the flesh.

Is not our Good Lord willing and able to change us into His likeness?

So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.” 2 Cor 3:18

When Paul talked about the fruit of the Spirit, he did not categorise some of them for those who have the choleric, sanguine or melancholic personality. The fruit of the Spirit is valid for different types of personalities.

When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures,idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.”

At this time there were Christians who were still slaves and beaten by their masters. Was not it normal for these slaves to lack self control and have bitterness inside? It’s normal but when you know Jesus, He molds your character. He shapes you.

Many Christians want to take a resolution to be better every year. If this is true then our character cannot worsen after years but be more like Christ. Our attitude should be more and more like Christ (Phil 2:5).

You need to surrender. It’s often pride which forbids you to change. If you want to give the impression that you are strong through your hard core character, you’re just fooling yourself. It is non-submission to God if you refuse to let yourself transformed. It does hurt to be pruned but it’s for our own good.

A Christian is not just anyone. If there’s something which really gives honor to God, it’s when we surrender and let Him transform us like He desires. God will not force us. We should not limit what the Spirit can do. If you’ve been deformed by life’s circumstances, God can crush this lump of clay and start it all over!

God said to Jeremiah :“Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.” Jer 18:2

We should not have this defeated attitude regarding some bad characters we have. Is not our good Lord able to change us? Repent now if you ever said that you cannot change. Yield yourself to the divine Potter so that He makes you into Christ’s likeness. Lion-like characters can be tamed to sheep-like character.

Jesus was not exaggerating when He said we should love like Him:

I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow! This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  ” John 15:9-12

Jesus was not joking when He said we should forgive like Him:

Then the master called the servant in. “You wicked servant,” he said, “I cancelled all that debt of yours because you begged me to.Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?” In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.‘This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.’ Mat 18:33

Jesus was not kidding when He said we should be perfect like Him:

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Mat 5:48

It is God’s desire that we become holy as Him:

But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15

James admitted that the tongue is like the fire of hell and that no man is able to tame it (James 3:6). Of course, it is not because no man can tame it that we should have a defeated attitude when we say inappropriate words. No man can tame it, but God can!

It is impossible to change ourselves but if we remain in the divine Vine(John 15), we’ll be changed. Our Father wants to prune our character.

 Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. But if you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted! When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings great glory to my Father.”

You might say that Jesus has set such a high standard. Oh yeah He did because He really wants us to become like Him. His holiness could not permit Him lower the standards anyway. We have the Holy Spirit indwelling us and God will continue this good work in us to make us into His likeness.

We Christians have been predestined to become like Christ:

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.” Rom 8:30

When we talk about conversion we talk about transformation. We are transformed in our attitude and in our mind.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Rom 12:1

It is a worship unto God when you willingly offer yourself to Him and let Him mold your character.

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Posted January 2, 2013 by Cedric in My writings (English)

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