December 15, 2007

4 Things/#1 Human Clay

I have been tagged for a meme on "Four Things Learned In No Man's Land." This meme struck me very hard. For all of the things that I have been through, what are the top four things that I would like to say that I have learned, and helped to define my faith. Well, the list of important things is rather longer than four, but I will keep it to four in honor of the spirit of the meme. Each one is so important to me, that I can't just give a snippet and move on, so I will do a post on each one. Starting with the one that was hardest for me, so made the greatest impact and so on.
So without further adieu. Human Clay.

How do I become the person God wants me to be? How do I live in a way pleasing to him?

These are the two questions that have split more churchs and caused more problems to believers than anything else in all of spirituality. There are many and varied responses from those that believe in our God. If you ask the Muslims, they will give you one answer of how we should live to be pleasing to the same God we believe in. The Jews will give you another, and the christians another. All the same God, belief in how to be pleasing to God is the big difference. This is the biggest stumbling block to being who God wants us to be. We WANT SO BADLY TO PLEASE HIM, that we try to DO things that please him. It is this DOING, that keeps us from becoming what he wants us to be.

We try to change ourselves into what we think he would like. We stop smoking, drinking, cussing, laughing at certain jokes, and try to behave in ways that we think he wants us to behave. So we build a prison of rules, that when we break those rules, we feel horribly guilty. Like failures, unworthy, and to feel better, we indulge ourselves in behaviors that are questionable to those rules further proving our inadequacies. It does not fill us with contentment and peace or happiness.

What is the answer, quit trying. We are not supposed to make ourselves into anything, God is supposed to do that. That is why he is the potter and we are to be the clay. The thing about clay, is it just lays there doing nothing until the potter comes to make it into something. What happens to often is when we get an idea of what God would like us to do, we go as hard and fast in that direction as we can. To make God happy of course. But clay isn't supposed to move on it's own. That would make it very hard for the potter to do things with it. So quitting trying is the big revelation. Become clay, quit trying to become, and allow yourself to be made. Let God do the work. Works of men are flawed. The only person that can make you into the vessel he wants, can utilize the talents given, and put you on the path you are supposed to follow, is God. If we try to do it we WILL fail. So give up all control or your life to God, and follow where the Holy Spirit leads.


Mike said...

That's a great start Nate!! We all know what happens to clay when the potter takes his hands away from it.

faintnot said...

well said friend...His hands are always filled with purpose...

jON said...

absolutely. one of the hardest things to learn, for me, because i had been trained so long to believe that whoever i am now is woefully short of who i am supposed to be and i need to try harder to make myself into who god wants me to be.

and there is the tiniest bit of truth to that. the woefully short part.

but it is not the whole truth. i now believe that whoever i am right now is who i am supposed to be at this moment, and that i should embrace that and enjoy who i am and let that shine around wherever god places me. because it will be right for that moment.

i think you are very right. it is the most freeing thing in the world, to live in light of this reality.

Valorosa said...

Yea ... :-)

Tired ... this clay vessel is going to rub some peppermint lotion on her feet and put warm fuzzy socks on and go to dream land.

And that reminds me of how lovely on the mountain are the feet of those who bring good news. Announcing peace, bringing news of happiness.

Our God reigns.

Thanks Nate.

Anonymous said...

Nate, that's huge. Thanks for taking part in this, I'm discovering so much from responses like yours! Awesome. I'm looking forward to the rest.

s g said...

I wrestle with the same ideas from your post frequently. Here's my question, which in no way negates any of what your saying...

If we are to lay like a lump of clay, why did Paul exhort us so much to conform to His image?

Valorosa said...

Good question !! :-)

jON said...

our interpretation of this statement from paul, i think, can be filtered a little too much through our modern minds and a common problem that is rampant within churches. namely: whatever god has laid on MY heart and gives me the strength and conviction to accomplish, i naturally assume is the way EVERYBODY should be living and acting and have laid on their hearts. sometimes we don't understand what everyone else's problem is, and why they aren't able to accomplish something that seems so simple for us to accomplish. (never mind that it is something that we are not accomplishing under our own power or conviction, but is rather a gift from Father!)

and, in the end, i believe we will be conformed. but it is nothing we can accomplish under our own efforts. which is what i think nate is hitting at here. laying low and simply allowing god to do his work, his way, in his time is exactly what WILL accomplish "being conformed to his image."

Nate said...

Thank you Jon, I could not have said better myself. the big difficulty in conforming to his image, is we WANT TO DO SOMETHING to make sure that the process is happening. And that is the opposite of what we should do. Be still and know I am God. And God will make you what he will.

s g said...

Thanks for the response... I'm still wrestling with this.

If we are not to conform ourselves (it is the Spirit's work) would you say that we are to at least participate with His leading?

Would you say that our part is to obey and trust?

Thank you for helping me think through this.

Nate said...

Trusting, yes that would be the really hard part. Obeying is very necessary. Scary sometimes, but very necessary. Learning to allow the Holy Spirit to have complete control is tough. God kind of forced me into it. To get a good idea of what happened to me, this book, So you don't want to go to church anymore will do a good job of explaining. You can download it for free. I would be more than happy to talk about anything that pops up. Just email me if it is not a current discussion.

Nate said...

Just erase that crap from the previous like to get it to work. I am so bad at this crap.

jON said...

to obey and trust is our part, yes.

but obey and trust whom?

far too often when god isn't moving or speaking, our religious leaders become accustomed to sitting in his seat and citating to the rest of us what "god's will" is.

yet, every so often, god returns to find his seat occupied. so he calls his children out to go to another place.

in doing this, however, he has people obeying him who find themselves at odds with the ones in the seat. because he is asking the children of obedience to do all sorts of things that damage the status of the seat and those in it. (some do this without understanding. they simply follow the godspirit in their heart though they don't comprhend. they listen and obey all the same.)

so here's the dichotomy. we have learned so long to listen to those in the seat speak for god, that when god speaks, often we can't hear him. or don't recognize him and his moving.

this is usually because an announcement from the ones we trusted to speak for god tell us that anyone doing or saying anything damaging to god's seat is in violation of disobeying "God" and must be cast down before others are infected.

and it can be a hard line to walk, you know? to know what's god and what isn't. but i'm pretty sure god's pissed. so when i feel the impulse to tear down structures, i feel the godspirit rise up within me. when i feel the impulse to tear down people, i feel the fearspirit rise up within me. most often fear of other people and what they will think about my words or actions. and having to face their disappointed expectations.

this is what makes the cross, in my mind, so scandelous. it completely robs those in the seat of their power. i am not answerable to them. i am only answerable to one who has ALREADY forgiven me for all of my future mistakes as i learn to hear his voice. no one else.

that is very freeing.

i believe that is where nate's next post picks up...

s g said...

Thank you.

Will digest through this... Much of what y'all said resonates within.