– Jeremy Taylor
He Softens the Clay
God cannot work with pride-filled human beings (James 4:6). They must humble themselves. It’s like trying to form or shape a clay vessel that’s already been hardened. It’s impossible to shape a clay vessel that resists the Potter’s hands. Until God softens our hearts, He cannot do much with us, so until the clay is softened, we remain vessels that cannot be conformed to the mind and image of God.
He Molds the Vessel
Isaiah the Prophet gives us great insight into how God describes us as a clay vessel ,and God is the Master Potter. He writes, “O LORD, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Isaiah 64:8), so we must not question what the Potter is doing, just as the Apostle Paul wrote, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this” (Rom 9:20)?
He Strikes the Fire
God allows us to pass through fiery trials, and here’s why. It is “that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1st Pet 1:7). We have a lot in common with gold, in the sense that both pass through the fire and both are purified in the process, however the Refiner knows just the right amount of fire (not too little, not too much) to put us through. He is perfectly forming us into the image He Son. That’s the goal.
He Fills Us Up
Once we become a chosen vessel of God’s, He will fill us up with His Spirit. Paul says, “do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph 5:19). Of course, Paul means the Holy Spirit, because that’s Who enables us to understand Scripture, and the Spirit reveals our need for the Savior, but we must empty ourselves of our own pride, thoughts, and agendas and let God’s Spirit fill us up to do His will. He can’t fill us up if we’re full of ourselves.
Jeremy Taylor had his own share of trials and so he knew that it is “by trials God is shaping us for higher things,” and since we’re all deformed vessels (Rom 3:10-12, 23), we need all the help we can from the Master Potter, as He uses our trials to shape us, mold us, and make us into the image of the Son of God. That is what we should all want.