Throwing clay is a profession unchanged, for today, as centuries ago, it consists of just three parts: the potter, the wheel and the clay. A metaphor arises out of the image: The potter is God’s authority, the wheel is the circumstances in which we live, and the clay is our nature being molded by God. God, my circumstances, and my life is an interesting metaphor. God has a thought of me, the circumstances of my life are turning and fashioning what God plans for me to be. However, I can rebel and take the clay out of the Potter’s hands, but to do so is to render my life useless. Think of the wrecks in the potter’s field; half formed, marred, and broken. Lives that might have been forms of beauty, but they did not yield.
“So they used the money to buy the potter’s field” (Matt 27:7), and they called it the field of blood (Cf. 8). At one time we were all wrecks, and could be found as discarded and broken in the potter’s field. A field that was bought with the blood money.
Sounds hopeless! But we rejoice when we read from the book of Jeremiah, “But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping as it seemed best to him” (Jer. 18:4).
I came across this poem by Henry Francis Lyte. The first two verses are:
Abide with me! Fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens, Lord, with me abide!
When other helpers fail, and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, O abide with me!
Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day!
Earth’s joys grow dim, in glories pass away,
Change and decay in all around I see,
O thou, who changest nor, abide with me!
Mr. Lyte wrote this poem 2 weeks before his death. What caused him to write his poem? When we are close to the end of our life the curtain between this world and the next grows thin, and causes us to look for something we can hold on to. Mr. Lyte was looking for a rock, and he found the rock to be Jesus Christ.
Where does one find Jesus? We find him in Bible verses such as “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” In such verses we find the perfect answer to the questions a person has when death draws near.
In this verse we see that Christ was always alive. Christ was at the beginning. Christ will be at the ending. Christ is unchanging, never destroyed, and never weary. We may tire, but no matter how tired we may be, he never tires, and never fails. No one who ever walks with Christ found themselves bored, for He is forever bringing to them new surprises that amaze them. He is the same yesterday, and today, and forever.
How many of us have really ever given our best? I ask the question to help us realize that when God gave His Son, He gave His best. This means God emptied heaven of its richness; God had nothing more worth giving. In that moment of giving he did not give something that was better than the rest by comparison, but something that included all. Paul understood that when God gave us His Son, with Him, “He … graciously gives us all things” (8:32). The logic is clear, when God gave us His Son, with Him He freely gives us all things.
With this understanding look again at the questions Paul asks in Romans 8: Who can be against us? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? “Who is he that condemns?” “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”
Aren’t these the questions we ask today? Yes! And these are the answers to those questions: How do I know God is for me? He sent His son. Who can be against us? No one because of Christ’s Cross. Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? No one for Christ justifies. Who is he that condemns? No one, for Christ died for me. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Not death, nor life, not angels or demons, not the present or the future, not any power, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation.
Secure in Him,
One of Paul’s greatest statements is, “We wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were save” (Rom 8:23b-24a). He writes of creation that is one day released from its bondage of corruption that spoils, mars, and ruins the world the children of God now live in.
Until that day of release we groan within ourselves waiting. Waiting for our adoption to be completed, the redemption of our body, and the ultimate change into what we are to be. Paul to the Philippians put it this way, “[Christ] will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.” (3:21).
Our hope is set on Christ, but not so for the atheist. The atheist looks at the world’s problem and asks, “Who is God? What is God doing? Does God care? And when they do not receive the answer they seek state, “God does not exist.” Suppose there is no God. What then? If there is no God, then who created these problems we face? The problems are turned back on the atheist, for if there is no God, it is man’s problem, and if it is man’s problem then there is no answer, and there is no hope.
We are all aware of the world’s sorrows, the dangers threatening our lives, the perils of wealth, the persistence of pain, the failure and despair many face. But we have hope, and our hope is in the one God has sent, and by this hope we are saved.
Paul wrote, “Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires” (Rom 8:5). Mindset is a Pauline word, for of the 26 times it is used, in the N.T., he used it 23 times. What does Paul mean by mindset? He means if we are to live in a way that pleases God, we must focus our minds on what the Spirit of God desires for us, and not focus on our natural desires.
The question becomes are we forming our minds around what God wants, or what the flesh desires. The answer to that question depends on what a person is concentrating on. If the Christian reads nothing but the latest novels, watches nothing but network TV, and talks only to unbelievers they are never going to form the mindset of the Spirit. When all we put into our minds comes from one direction – the direction of the world – it is no wonder we think and responds in fleshly ways.
If we are serious about having a Christian mindset then we must feed our minds daily with spiritual food. Take time in the morning to read your Bible, and ask yourself what does it mean? Spend a quiet moment contemplating with God. Pray avoiding routine patterns. Make your daily time with the Lord a time that sets the direction of your minds on the things that are God’s.