If you’ve been a Christian more than ten minutes, you’ll realize that Christianity isn’t for wimps. The instant you change spiritual kingdoms, you gain an active enemy—actually several of them.
First, your flesh quickly decides that it loved getting its way…all the time…without exception. Second, your mind quickly decides that it loved getting its way…all the time…without exception. Third, Satan has lost one of his minions, yet another of his subjects has defected and gone over to the other side. That ticks him off.
Are you getting the picture?
With the new kingdom, come new kingdom responsibilities and disciplines. To be sure, the best, smartest decision I’ve ever made was to accept Christ as my personal Savior. The second best decision I’ve ever made is one I’ve constantly chosen for the last 40 years: I choose to stay in Christ’s kingdom.
As many of you, 2010 was, without contest, the single worst year of my memory. Yet, all the breaking, all the crushing, all the refining to my spirit, ego, mind, and flesh has been in the capable hands of the Master Potter. Maturation will come because I know the ability of the Potter not because of my own effort.
In high school, I took a pottery class for an art requirement. It is an appropriate analogy. The clay arrives in large plastic-lined boxes (in its natural form from the earth). We were instructed to cut a glob off, slap it on the wheel and start spinning it. What is interesting is that for me to form it into something, I needed to apply pressure. One little slip of the hand ruined my vessel. Also, I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to have mastered the structure, have it minutes from being kiln ready, only to find a tiny bit of gravel or wood. Guess what? I had to pick out the wood because if I fired it with the objectionable piece, it would explode in the kiln.
Removing the object and smashing the clay flat was the only remedy.
Yet, it is the only way to salvage the clay. It is the same with God. So 2010 was the year of being smashed flat on numerous occasions; in remembering the pottery class, I choose to see the positive aspects of having the bits of rubble picked out, having God smash my clay flat, and then lovingly apply the necessary pressure to transform me into the vessel He chooses.
Painful? Yes. Worth it? Yes. But God's persistence helps make us the best we can be. His faithful commitment to finish what He starts is a reason to celebrate.