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Clay in the Potter's Hands

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

Are you setting your own goals, going your own way, and then praying for God's blessing on your activities? Or are you maybe leaving God out of your life altogether?

There is another way, and with it you can find out who you really are and what you're capable of. In reality, each of us has a distinct, spiritual identity that is part of a divine plan. Everyone has a particular mission and purpose to serve God. And this includes embodying the qualities of God - reflecting His nature.

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To discover our divine purpose often requires a willingness to surrender to God our own plans or personal ambition. Also, our wishes to be well-known, or to be promoted, or to be well-off. Finding our spiritual identity involves striving to be rid of undesirable character traits, and sacrificing any view of who we are that is not in accord with God's spiritual view.

The Bible uses a striking metaphor that indicates God's power to mold us to His will: "O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? says the Lord. Behold, like the clay in the potter's hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel" (Jer. 18:6, Revised Standard Version). Like clay in the hands of the potter, we can let God, the source of all that is true and good, mold our thinking.

Jesus Christ's parable of the prodigal son gives an example of someone who rebelled against this divine direction at first (see Luke, Chap. 15). This son asked his father for his inheritance, left home, and squandered it on "riotous living." At a time of famine, he became destitute and had to take a job keeping pigs. He nearly starved.

When he came to his senses, he said, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants." You might say he was becoming clay in the potter's hands. Turning back in humility to his father's house, he symbolically turned back to his heavenly Father, repented of his self-indulgence, and showed a willingness to change direction. He received forgiveness, and everything was restored to him.

If we have wandered far from our Father's house in our thoughts or actions, we can be willing to turn around and go home. This necessitates being moldable, pliable, submissive. Not to other people, but to the divine will alone.

Jesus, who communicated God's message to humankind, said: "Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand" (Matt. 4:17). To repent means to re-think, or change one's mind. To think less of self, and have a greater love for God and others, is part of this repentance. To stop believing that we are mere mortals and start acknowledging our pure spiritual identity as children of God. To open our thought and be receptive to spiritual ideas that heal us and meet our needs.

This change from a material consciousness to a spiritual consciousness is natural because God is Spirit, and we are made in God's likeness. A consciousness of our spirituality is "the kingdom of heaven." It is right where we are.

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Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, advised readers of her book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" to let such qualities as "unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love - the kingdom of heaven - reign within us ..." (Pg. 248). She also observed, "Simply asking that we may love God will never make us love Him; but the longing to be better and holier, expressed in daily watchfulness and in striving to assimilate more of the divine character, will mould and fashion us anew, until we awake in His likeness" (Pg. 4).

Recognizing our place in the divine plan begins with being receptive to God in prayer. We can let Him reveal His nature, His presence, His power, to us and through us - a bit like the sun pours out its light and warmth and energy through each individual ray.

The divine likeness is who we really are - perfectly molded by God.

You can read other articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

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