The Lord didn’t send him to a stream to look at raw clay, or to a market to admire earthen jars on display. He sent Jeremiah to a potter’s house to see a work in progress. He walked from that workroom with a message: God’s people will be shaped for BEST….if they want it enough to be as clay in his hands.
But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him. Jer. 18:4
A matching work
The potter sees more than a moist lump of clay on his wheel. He sees the end picture and works towards it. The spin of the wheel, the skillful hands on the clay, and the patient focus continues until the crafted work matches the image in the potter’s mind.
A minor defect can ruin the match. So, the potter breaks down the clay to remove the defect. The delay isn’t a setback. It’s part of shaping for BEST.
The visual lesson was clear: the potter has full shaping power over the clay. God’s message to Judah was: Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand Jer. 18:6
But, of course, there was one enormous difference between a house of clay and the House of Judah. Living clay has a will. Unless its people surrendered their will to agree with the Potter, they would lose the opportunity to be shaped for BEST.
We live in the Potter’s magnificent new covenant house. The Glory of Christ fills the Father’s workroom as his Spirit forms and changes us.
True freedom is the desire and will to live on the Potter’s wheel. Being shaped for BEST means being shaped into Christ’s likeness…. more and more (Rom 8:29, 2 Cor 3:17-18). Best in each day or circumstance means living them to reflect him. Best future means being walking in the plans he has for us. His shaping is constant, forming us for best in this moment, while preparing us for his best in the next.
The 2022 phase
So much about the New Year is unknown. But we move into it focusing on this certainty: it’s the Lord’s 2022 phase of shaping us for best. The year ahead is a journey through times, places, circumstances, events and relationships in which the Potter has full power to shape our lives for best. But the question is important.
His question to Israel was: Can I not do with you as this potter does? He has planned the best for us, so he frames our days with the same question. Our love-response, in all of our living, is not simply yes, you can, but YES, you can and it’s what I want! That heart setting will make our 2022 journey an unforgettable year of grace.
Use this guide, with its various prayer types, to pray from Jer 18:4, so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him.
- PRAISE the Father’s love for seeing such immense value in you, for paying such an extreme price to place you on his Potter’s wheel. Exalt him for a love that has designed nothing less than what is BEST for your life.
- Give THANKS to the Potter for his patient kindness in shaping you, never giving up on you, even when distractions, disinterest or disappointment have made you less malleable in his fingers. Thank him for never excluding you from the miracle of being formed into Christ’s likeness.
- CELEBRATE the freedom of having both the desire and the will for what the Lord calls BEST. Rejoice (with the Potter) at the gift of another day of life on his Love-managed shaping wheel.
HUNGER Tell the Lord of your longing to be changed more, of your desire to be a clearer reflection of Jesus, of your eagerness to live the plans he has for you, and of your passion to reach for everything that he sees as best for your life throughout 2022.
CONSECRATION As an expression of trust in your Potter’s love and wisdom, present yourself as yielding clay (whatever the cost), to be shaped for BEST in the Lord’s 2022 phase of your life-journey.
- Ponder Isaiah 48:17, I am the Lord your God, who teaches you what is best for you. Ask the Lord to teach you things in the year ahead that will shape your values and choices in line with his best.
- Ask for the Spirit’s power to keep choosing his best and refusing whatever works against it.
DECLARE 2022 to be a pivotal shaping year in your life. Announce (to the Lord and to yourself) your readiness to be shaped for BEST. Shout it as a statement to dark spiritual powers that are threatened by the Christ-likeness changes that happen on the Potter’s wheel. Write a note of intention to yourself that, by the grace of the Spirit, you will view each circumstance and happening as your loving Father’s shaping tool for best.
MEDITATE Reflect on the words, shaping it as seemed best to him. Review your various prayer responses above. Then meditate on this one aspect of the Lord: his JOY. Visualize the pleasure of the Potter over your desire to be shaped as he sees best.
Note: There will a pause in Wingspan Prayer blog posts for a few weeks as we relocate. We will be back with more. Meanwhile, I encourage you to revisit the above post, Shaped for BEST regularly over the coming weeks. I suggest repeating the prayer of CONSECRATION daily, and focusing on a different prayer type in the guide each week.