Earlier today, as I was reading an excellent blog by John Knox (@watchmanjohn) entitled Finding Our Ministry, I happened to notice the blog tag he used. It said, "broken for His glory." I pondered those words for awhile as I re-read his blog and looked at the picture he had selected to accompany it.
Watchmanjohn is right. Though we might be careful not to say it, the sad reality is that so many of us within the Body of Christ have little interest in being "broken for His glory". We desire to be a great and glorious vessel that everyone is awed by the moment they lay their eyes on us. We desire (sometimes openly and sometimes secretly) to be the actor who is standing center stage upon whom the play revolves around. All eyes are fixed on us. All applause is for us even if we modestly, for the sake of politeness, slightly incline our head towards others and perhaps even the director... if we think about it.
We fail to understand that in order to become a useful vessel, there is a process we must go through. Please take a moment to view this very short video of the process of how pottery is made:
When I was a girl, I remembering working with clay at school on a few occasions. I remember how we would get our slab of clay and before we even began to mold it, we would have to "wedge" the clay by throwing it down on the table and working it with our hands. I remember being told this is a critical step. An air-pocket in a vessel could cause it to explode inside the kiln and cause damage to it and possibly other vessels inside the kiln as well. Dutifully we would heed the advice of our art teacher and be diligent about wedging our lump of clay.
The process of creating a vessel of clay which you can use is time-consuming and you cannot take short-cuts. It requires patience. It must be done properly or the vessel will be no good and it will have to be destroyed.
God is the potter and we are His clay. Though we are redeemed, we must go through the process of being wedged, formed, fired, glazed and fired again. Contrary to what some would suggest, I do not believe it is a painless process. In fact, I believe that often times it is an extremely painful process. As God wedges us to rid us of those air pockets in our hearts that sin likes to creep into, things can get very ugly and painful. His hands will often mold us into directions we do not want to go. He trims and cuts away unnecessary pieces off of us and when He does so, we will often cry out in pain, anger and perhaps even grief. It is "uncomfortable" and we don't like it.
Then we are placed into the intense heat of the fire. We fear it will destroy us but the Potter knows. The Potter knows exactly how hot it must be to burn away all the impurities as well as how hot it must be to make us strong and enduring. He also knows how long we must remain in the fire.
He is not finished with us yet. The Potter does not just desire us to be useful, He wants us to very strong and beautiful as well. We examine ourselves and are pleased by the fact that we appear to be pure white but the Potter is not finished with us yet. The glaze is applied and to our dismay, we don't appear to be beautiful anymore. In fact, we look rather dingy and forlorn... through our own eyes at least. Oh no... it is back into the fire once again.
Clay must be beaten, molded and fired for use; so must we.