Have you ever started a project or a ministry only to experience doubt and confusion, to experience criticism and trials? You question whether you are qualified to be in ministry at all! You wonder why, if you are serving God, are you experiencing such conflict within yourself! It’s important to remember that God often uses the unqualified and He is refining you and shaping you to be a tool He can use for His glory! Read on to learn about the potter and the clay as pictured throughout scripture and how God is shaping us for His use.
My Experience With the Potter and the Clay – Starting a Ministry
It was November of 2015 when I took the leap and first started my blog. I created it because I believed I had a calling to do so. I discussed this with my husband on a 3 hour trip we were making home after spending Thanksgiving with family.
We got home and I was full of excitement, ready to create this ministry that I felt called to. I got it all up and running and I was beaming with excitement. I wrote my first post!
And then, I did nothing.
It sat. I published it, but I didn’t promote it. I didn’t blog on it after that first post. It just sat and it sat for a year! Worse yet, when I finally DID take the step to start blogging and promoting, I gave up after only a couple of months!
I shut it down completely! I lost all the work I put into it and had to start over again from scratch when I began blogging again in June 2018.
Why? Why, when I felt called and was SO sure this is what God was leading me to do, did I just shut it down?
The answer is two-fold.
For it is God Who Works in You
For one, I didn’t have enough confidence in my own ability to write. You see I was relying on what I thought about my own plans but wasn’t considering the gifts my heavenly Father had placed in me for His purposes.
I had been writing since I was a little girl. Most of my family thought that I would be an author one day. My mother, before she passed, could tell you all about the first “book” I ever wrote when I was a young child, about a frog.
But over time I stopped writing.
So here I sat, looking at this blogging ministry that I had let fall away and wondering why I couldn’t just do what I felt led to do.
You see, I felt LED but yet, at the same time, I was looking at my own ability vs. looking at God’s ability to work through me. If I felt called to do it, I should have had the faith to know God would equip me for it. I should have trusted the Word of the Lord which tells me that it is not my own strength I need to rely on but His Word of truth.I felt LED but yet, at the same time, I was looking at my own ability vs. looking at God’s ability to work through me. If I felt called to do it, I should have had the faith to know God would equip me for it. Click To Tweet
I Am Just a Nobody…Right?
The second and biggest reason was that I really didn’t think that I was someone who other people would believe they could learn anything about the Word of God from.
I was no different than any other woman out there, so who was I to assume to try to teach anyone anything? I had no education in theology, no degree in Biblical studies no experience in teaching. So who was I?
Well, we know where those thoughts were coming from! But I bought into them.
I am just a nobody!
Not only was I a nobody, but I was a messed up nobody!
I had multiple marriages, I had anxiety and suffered from panic attacks. I was a mess…a REAL mess! Why on earth would anyone want to read ANYTHING I had to say??
But while I had myself convinced that I was doubting MY abilities and MY talent, the truth was it was really GOD I was doubting.
What I had to come to terms with was that God uses the plain and ordinary for the extraordinary.
He has done this countless times in scripture and He would do it again with me as He took this self-doubting lump of clay into the hand of the Potter.
The Potter and the Clay – God Molds the Unqualified
- He took a shepherd boy and molded him into a King
- He took a grumbling fisherman and molded him a leader of the Church
- He took a Hebrew who was “dull of speech” and molded him into the leader of a nation
- And most of all, He molded Himself into human form, the form of an infant, a baby lying in hay in a manger, to set the captives free; to give us eternal salvation!
The religious elite of the day were looking for a conquering savior! They were looking for their Messiah who would come charging into Jerusalem and take power from Roman tyranny! What they got was a Rabbi riding on a donkey’s colt.
He could have been anything He chose, but He chose ordinary. He chose to be like a clay pot instead of a golden vessel. He chose plain.
God Takes the Least Likely in the Hands of the Potter
The Lord God chose to be plain and He chose to be ordinary and He chose a people who were plain and ordinary and flawed and, like a piece of clay, shaped them in His own way. He made man of the dust of the ground and with the breath of life made this man in His own image.
God uses the unqualified and I believe I know why!
And it is the plain and ordinary that we can most closely identify with.
Have you ever looked at a lump of clay? It is just that, a lump. It is a formless, plain piece of nothing!
But oh…the potential in that piece!
When the Potter places it on that wheel and begins to mold it with great care, it becomes a useful vessel…we become like jars of clay, vessels of honor made in the image of God…in the image of the Potter.
God’s Divine Plan
Envision the image of a potter in your mind.
The Potter gets his hands on a piece of clay and shapes it and forms it into something beautiful. It is original because the hands that made it won’t make any two pieces exactly alike.
The Potter puts the clay into the fire and it takes the shape the sovereignty of God designs.
It becomes set, it becomes tougher in the fire, and takes the shape and form the Potter imagined in their mind. But the only way to turn it into what the Potter wants is to put it through the fire.
That is the place where it loses its weakness and becomes firm and takes on the shape its Creator gave it!
Silver and gold also go through the fire! They are purified in the fire and have their impurities removed!
Clay is formed in the fire. Silver and gold are purified in the fire.
This is not some wild, random fire! This is the Refiner’s fire, a fire that is carefully contained by the Master, where His precious ones are placed in, not to be harmed but to be purified and shaped!
You Are Like a Clay Jar
Isaiah 64:8 says:
Being Shaped by God
I had to go through the fire and be shaped to be who God was making me to be!
I had to go through a period of testing and working out the doubts, the fears, the uncertainties; these were all making me solid in my faith. There was that need to face my own insecurities and my own concern with what other people thought of me! I had to deal with the naysayers who thought I wasn’t good enough (one of them being me!).
I had to deal with the comparison game and looking at other people who I felt were FAR more qualified than I was. I had to come to terms with the fact that it was ok to be unqualified! As we have already illustrated, God used the unqualified all the time throughout history!
It was necessary to go through the inner battle between what God was telling me to do and an enemy telling me it couldn’t be done, not by me anyway. It was for others, not someone like me!
I had to finally face my fear and choose to believe what God was telling me instead of the lies the enemy told me.
I had to pray my way through trial after trial as the enemy tried time and time again to stop me with distractions and problems and stress.
I had to have that all worked out in me!
God Uses the Unqualified and I Was Being Shaped and Refined for His Appointment
The Book of Jeremiah 18:2-6:
And just like in the days of Jeremiah, the good Shepherd reworks us into a new creation, a new vessel, for good things and every good work and for His use.
My disappointment was HIS appointment. What I felt I was lacking, He was refining in me. And that is a work that continues on and on.
Occasionally it means we have to go through the fire again to be refined and reshaped! But we come out like new, made in perfection through Christ Jesus.
The Potter and the Clay
Out of the great depths of His love for us, God takes us, as Jeremiah 18 says, as the potter takes the clay, and He molds and shapes us, puts us through the fire where we battle our doubts, our fears, the harsh words of critics, the laughter of naysayers, and we come out a beautiful work of art that, through His Holy Spirit, He can use. We are vessels of mercy made to do His work in the world in our daily lives. Our loving Father desires us to be a new creation that shows the world who He is.
You are a beautiful piece of art formed by the hands of the Lord of Hosts Himself. Like clay, the wheel turns and you are molded in God’s hands and put through the fire to become His masterpiece.
You can do whatever God calls you to do, whether it is to lead a ministry or lead a toddler. Whether you are to teach thousands or teach those in your own home.
You are a gift that God has handcrafted. So never despise the fires you go through because it is the Potter’s kiln and the Refiner’s fire that molds you and shapes you. Don’t worry about YOUR capabilities but focus on HIS.
Remember what He said:
Longing to draw closer to God?
If you want to connect with Christ in a fresh, new way, like the Potter and the clay, join the FREE 40-day journey PRAYING THE PROMISES OF THE CROSS and discover:
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- The gospel truly as the POWER of God (Romans 1:16) in your life.
If you are praying for a breakthrough, if you are going through the fire in your life, this Scripture prayer challenge will help pave the way for God to use it to mold you.
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Scripture quotations are from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
NASB – “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Copyright by The Lockman Foundation“