” Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.”Jer. 18:6
“Have thine own way Lord, have thine own way. Thou art the potter, I am the clay.” These first few lines of an early 20th century hymn by Adelaide Pollard have often been sung at the conclusion of an evangelistic sermon. Surrender to the will of God may include being broken and reworked into a new vessel. We have the assurance, that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. He will resurrect us to a new life, both now and in the future.
The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: 2 “Come, go down to the potter’s house, and there I will let you hear my words.” 3 So I went down to the potter’s house, and there he was working at his wheel. 4 The vessel he was making of clay was spoiled in the potter’s hand, and he reworked it into another vessel, as seemed good to him. 5 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 6 Can I not do with you, O house of Israel, just as this potter has done? says the Lord. Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel. . . 11 Now, therefore, say to the people of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: Thus says the Lord: Look, I am a potter shaping evil against you and devising a plan against you. Turn now, all of you from your evil way, and amend your ways and your doings.
There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the just requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. . .9 But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. 10 But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11 If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you. This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”
As a young girl I attended a church that had a weekly altar call at the end of the sermon. The altar became a safe place where I could go to pray and receive support from my peers and various Christian adults. In turn, I would pray with my friends and share in their struggles. We were all in the process of being molded into young women of God. Today we would call that “group therapy.”
Whenever I hear “Just As I Am”, “I Surrender All”, or “Have Thine Own Way Lord” I return to those precious times and give thanks to God for the privilege of being formed on my knees at the altar. Today, I have a similar experience when I come forward for communion.
As a young man, my husband woke up every morning and recited the verse, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” Rom. 8:1. That was his daily altar call.
At times we feel unholy and need to hear, “There is no condemnation. . . Go and sin no more.” When we are confused about a major decision, we need to know, “Commit your ways to the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” When we are frightened, we are encouraged by, “Fear not, I am with you”. When we’re lonely, it’s comforting to know, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” The Lord’s invitation is open to all. He is the potter, you are the clay. “Anyone who comes to me, I will in no way cast out.”
Lord, we submit to your will as clay submitting to the hands of the potter. It may require being broken and reworked many times, but in the end, we are a vessel that is useful for your purposes and we find fulfillment. Have thine own way Lord. Amen