We say that we want to be shaped and molded, to be more like Christ, but do we think of the pain and discomfort that comes with being shaped and molded? And do we think about Christ’s life and experiences? His life wasn’t fun nor was it full of family and trustworthy friends. Jesus went through various experiences that tested His Faith, strength, and loyalty to God. So if we want to be shaped and molded to be more like Christ, we must get ready for pain, discomfort and life experiences that test our faith, strength and loyalty.
“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
Being the clay is painful (when being shaped and molded). The process of molding clay involves first digging the clay out of the dirt and removing all the bugs and grass and things mixed in the clay that can’t stay once the clay is shaped into a beautiful vessel. It requires mixing and kneading out air. You throw the clay and use your hands to press the clay where it needs to be pressed and pull the clay where it needs to be pulled. The potter occasionally pours water on the clay to make it soft enough to mold. Then, once shaped, you put the clay in heat to bake it and harden the vessel. The whole process sounds painful but that is what God does with us. He picks us out of the dirt. He pours His Holy Spirit (Living Water) into us and shapes and molds us into the vessels we are called to be. Then we must go through the heat to be strengthened.
While the removal of bugs and grass from clay may be simple, it’s not quit as simple with us. God gives us the freedom of choice. He doesn’t just remove things from us but rather He sends us through things that cause us to willingly give up that which is no good within us. This is similar to the process of removing dross from gold ore. You have to heat gold ore and, as it becomes liquefied, it releases all of the impurities. The impurities (called dross) must be skimmed off after which the ore must be reheated and the process repeated until all of the impurities are removed. Although the process may be painful, don’t allow the growing pains of the process to distract you from the prize that you’re progressing towards. You want to be that pure and shining gold. “Distractions will cause you to focus more on the pain you’re going through when you need to be focused on the victory at the end of this process. Don’t allow anything to break your attention from what God has already done and what He is currently doing.” – Pastor C. Lynch Joseph teaches us to trust God’s timing, but on top of that, he shows us how to handle the pain of the process. It was easy for Joseph to believe the dream when his life was perfect and his father was showing him favoritism, but Joseph’s story really touches us when things seem to turn upside down for him but he holds on to his faith. It’s easy to trust and believe God when everything is going your way, but can you trust God when things don’t seem to be working out? Joseph could’ve become bitter being sold into slavery by his brothers and then being lied on by Potiphar’s wife and then being forgotten by the cup bearer, but he didn’t…he trusted God and embraced the process. The process that Joseph went through was painful. Being betrayed, lied on and forgotten would cause anyone to want to throw a pity party, unless they stay in the Presence of God – like Joseph. He stayed before God and remained focused on the dream as the process prepared him for his purpose. You have to embrace the pain of the process for it serves a purpose, pray for the patience to persevere through it and praise God for the promise.
The Seven P’s of the Process…
Always hold on to the PROMISE.
Allow the PAIN to motivate and push you.
Stay in PRAYER before God.
PERSEVERE through it all.
PRAISE God in advance.
Remain PATIENT in the process.
Stay focused on and prepare to walk in your PURPOSE.