Shaped by Jesus

Compass for the Journey

“Clay In the Potter’s Hands”

Isaiah 64:8-9

Yet you, Lord, are our Father.
    We are the clay, you are the potter;
    we are all the work of your hand.
Do not be angry beyond measure, Lord;
    do not remember our sins forever.
Oh, look on us, we pray,
    for we are all your people.

I think it’s safe to say that we’re not always aware of all the changes that are taking place around us. For example, in the area of technology, sometimes I will look down at my cell phone, and it will tell me that it has just finished updating itself. Something was getting changed around inside my phone, and I didn’t even realize it. This is how it is with all kinds of things in our world today.

I. We are the clay

The Bible says that you and I are always changing, and maybe we’re not always aware of it. Not just in the way we look, or the way we dress, but in our soul, our inner being. Our level of trust in God, our level of hope from the forgiveness of sins, our level of desire to glorify God – these things are always changing inside of us, sometimes for the good, and sometimes for the bad. We are like clay, the Bible says, something very changeable. And God is the one who can change us for the good.

II. Shaped by the world

In this scripture passage, thhe prophet Isaiah is talking to God about the nation of Israel. A long time ago, Israel was very faithful to God, hearing His Word and living according to it. But now they had fallen away. Earlier in this part of the Bible Isaiah spoke those famous words: “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags. We all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (64:6)

Isaiah was talking to God about how the people have changed for the worse. “No one calls on your name, or strives to lay hold of you, for you have hidden your face from us and made us waste away because of our sins.”(64:7)

What happened? Instead of staying in God’s Word, allowing God to shape them, they pushed the Word away. The sinful world shaped them instead. Idol worship, materialism, immorality, selfishness – this is what was shaping Israel.

The same thing can happen to you and me if we push the Word of God out of our lives and let our sinful culture shape us. Sadly, this is happening to us today. Can you look back on your life and remember a time you let the world shape you? We are like clay, and without God continuing to shape us through His Word, we start to change for the worse, and maybe we don’t even realize it.

III. Shaped by God

Yet you, Lord, are our Father, Isaiah says, “Do not remember our sins forever.” God our Father looks down from heaven, and He loves us. He doesn’t want us to transform into a piece of clay that He can’t allow into heaven, covered with the filth of sin. And so, God reaches down from heaven, and He shapes us.

God does this with our sins. The blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. Our Heavenly Father removes our sins by the sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross. He does “not remember our sins forever.” Instead, they are “forgiven forever,” “forgotten forever,” because of His undeserved love.

God shapes us into the people He wants us to be. The potter takes the clay that has been purified and puts it on the wheel, and he begins to shape it. The potter has a plan for each piece of clay – what it will be, by the time he is done.

God does the same thing with us. He uses his Word to shape us, and He has a plan for what He wants each one of us to be.

May God continue to bless the ministry that takes place here at Cornerstone UMC, OKC. And may God continue to bless you and work in you. We are still and will always be God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do. May God continue to shape you. Amen.

Pastor John N. Punni, II