We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:10
Thank God He inspired men to record the lives of people in the Old Testament whom He used. Abraham, like us, experienced disappointments, discouragements and perplexities. But God did not hide his difficult times from us because they help us understand the process of God as He works with each of His children. Note that every time Abraham gave up his rights, God spoke to him. Through his life, we are seeing the process of absolute abandonment to God’s will.
We can learn an important principle in Abraham’s journey from Jeremiah 18:6, “Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” The principle is God’s sovereignty; it is continually governing. Even though Jeremiah 18:6 was declared to a nation, it also speaks to us individually. The sovereignty of God is always at work regardless of what is happening around us or the situations that we are going through. God is in control, not nations, not the government, not Satan, nor the evil we see around us. This is something we must know so we can come into the power of that truth.
When Abraham reaches a point of dissatisfaction with his state of being, he begins to search for answers to the questions, why am I here, what’s my purpose in living, where did I come from? He wasn’t satisfied with worshipping the idols of his father and began to raise questions (Joshua 24:2). God used this opportune time to appear to Abraham (Acts 7:2) and answer the haunting question, is there anything more to life than this? We must come to the point of recognizing our need of salvation. If we don’t, we won’t look for deliverance from our state of being. Salvation encompasses much of our lives.
God presents this principle to us as ‘clay in the potter’s hands.’ Picture the clay on the wheel as it is being molded according to the thought of God. The clay must accept this process of being fashioned by the thought, the will and activity of the potter. Like the clay, we cannot suggest our desire for design. We must always be in subjection to the will of the potter.
I will bring out three perspectives of everyone’s life to further emphasize the principle of being ‘clay in the potter’s hands’. There is the person you think you are, there is the person other people think you are and there is the person that God knows you are. God does not mold you according to the way you think you are, nor according to who people think you are, but according to whom He knows you to be. That is exactly what God was doing in Abraham. Jeremiah 1:5 reads, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Psalms 139:13-16 also confirms God’s design for you. He is working in you according to the purpose He created you for. He is bringing forth His design that was created by love.
Sometimes we enter circumstances we don’t understand, but by design God allows it. Consider Job 1: 9-12, nothing of Job’s was touched without permission from God. Peter wasn’t sifted until after Satan had asked permission (Luke 22:31). These are truths you and I must walk in no matter what is happening around us. God is the engineer of our circumstances; He is working according to the person He knows we are. We are His children. Paul writes in I Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” Our heavenly Father allows us to go through tough situations, sorrow and pain, but we have no right to tell the potter how to bring forth the design intended. Remember we did not choose God, He chose us according to our Lord Jesus Christ in John 15:16. We can rest in the fact that He knows us and creates the circumstances to bring us into full expression. Ephesians 2:10 beautifully reads, “We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus.” Paul is saying we are being designed by God; we are His work. We are sons and we are being conformed and designed according to the image of His Son. It’s hard to accept circumstances that bring pain, sorrow, discouragement or disappointment to us, but never forget God’s creative hands are at work to bring us forth as Sons of the Living God. After we recognize our weakness and submit to the potter, Wisdom is then seen at work in us. Submitting to the potter is our relation to this great principle, God’s sovereignty. We have a will and an intellect from where resistance comes from. This is what makes us different from the clay. We must surrender it all to God.
GOD IS THE ENGINEER OF OUR CIRCUMSTANCES.
The next time you find yourself in a perplexing situation and you know in your heart that you are yielding to the Holy Spirit, remember the words “God is Love.” Grasp the depth of this statement, ‘we are in the hands of eternal love with eternal purpose in mind.’ He is not a tyrant looking down ready to beat us for our mistakes. Love created everything before we were formed in the womb of our mother. We come forth from Him. Jesus said in John 8:14, “I know where I came from and I know where I’m going.” We come from the heart of a loving Father who cares for us and is always looking out for our good. As a father I want the best for my children. God has given us commandments of love to direct and protect us; always encouraging us to obey them. Jesus delighted to do the will of His Father. The demands were created out of love. As long as He continued in obedience to those commandments He was protected by the love of His Father no matter what He confronted. John 6:38 says, “For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of Him who sent me.” He is the supreme example given to us.
I repeat, the clay doesn’t tell the potter how to design it or how much pressure to put on it while on the wheel. It is wrong thinking to tell God how to do things; the clay has no rights. As members of the Body of Christ, we can never dictate to the head. Christ Jesus, the Head of the Body, is the one who governs the body (Ephesians 1:22). Theologies are blown away by this, but scriptures will teach us who we are and what we are here for.
As we return to the types and shadows in the Old Testament, we now understand the great work declared by I Peter 1:8-9 which reads, “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” We must see and know what God is doing in us as individuals and also in the corporate Body if we are to enter into the delight and joy of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Abraham, symbolic of the spiritual man, is led to liberate Lot. Notice Lot chose for himself and set up his tent near Sodom (Genesis 13:12). In time he is taken captive while living in Sodom (Genesis 14:12). Abraham moves closer to the purpose of God and Lot, the natural man, moves further into the deception of the natural world. See this principle at work throughout scripture in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Joseph, and David; God is sovereign! God is in control, not the nations of the world, not Satan.
My prayer is that as you read this letter it will help you understand what God is doing; We are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus; His design in love, because God is love.