God is often said to be our potter, we are often said to be His clay. He molds us and shapes us into the creation that He would have us be. The term pottery is used to describe a technique where clay is mixed with other minerals and is formed into various objects, including vessels. The shaped clay body is fired in a kiln to induce permanent changes that result in increased strength
So if we are God's clay and He is our potter, He must be mixing us, His clay, with other things and forming us into vessels to be placed in the fire to induce permanent changes that will increase our strength.
What are these things, these minerals, He mixes us with? To be classified as a "true" mineral, a substance must be solid. It must also be naturally-occurring. God mixes us with naturally solid things.
II Peter names some of those naturally solid things.
Chapter 1: 5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
What fire does He place us in?
- Matthew 3:11 speaks of the fire.
- I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
Can permanent changes occur that increase the strength of these human vessels?
In Acts Chapter 9 we read of the most amazing story of permanent change ever told. Saul who was a persecutor of followers of Christ, after an encounter with Holy Ghost fire, became Paul became a mighty follower who preached the gospel of Christ.
- Chapter 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
- Another type of fire is sometimes experienced that also strengthens us.
I Peter 4 describes that fire.
Chapter 4: 12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
We each are continually in need of being on the Potter's wheel to have solid things mixed in, shaping us into His chosen vessels. As God places these vessels in fire, permanent changes occur and He increases our strength.