Treasure In Earthen Vessels

Discovering the Indwelling Holy Spirit

What Do We Really Want From God? July 18, 2017

The ink was barely dry in my journal after I finished writing What Does God Really Want from Us? when the Holy Spirit prompted me to turn that question around—What do we really want from God? Interesting thought, but doesn’t He already know what we want from Him?

 

Of course, the answer is yes, but I sensed that I was being pressed to look deeper into my soul, as to what I want from God—well, other than salvation, health, protection, finances, and success! After all, don’t we all want a life of well-being? I think that is commonly true, but I knew in my heart of hearts He was asking me a pointed question: What am I expecting God to do for me if I am living for Him?

 

I recently listened to an audio devotional called “The Slippery Slope of Discontentment” by Mike Harland, a spokesman for Lifeway Worship. Being a worship leader himself, Mike was able to speak into the lives of other worship leaders about how we assess our ministries. He said we often blame our lack of success on what we don’t have. We say that if we just had more resources…more choir members…more great soloists…a better sound system…a different pastor…a bigger facility…more time…more, more, more. That, my friend, is indeed a slippery slope.

 

My preacher son, Brent, has a saying that fits here as well—“More isn’t always better.” It’s sad to admit that our culture, including church culture, has taught us to believe if we had more of whatever, we would be happier, more successful, accomplish greater things, and last but not least, we could bring more glory to God.

 

So, do I know my own heart? What am I reaching for? What do I expect to be the end result of my efforts and my sacrifices? Am I expecting God to make me a great writer? A great singer? A great choir director? A great speaker or teacher? A great soul-winner? Am I expecting more and greater gifts, or am I content with the ones God has given me?

 

I don’t have the answers to all of those questions, but I am asking the Holy Spirit to show me my own heart. I fear we have allowed much positive thinking and destiny-driven preaching to sway the church toward discontentment rather than embracing God’s true plan for our lives.

 

In his best-selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren tells us that we were born for a purpose—God’s purpose in putting us on planet earth. God knew beforehand what gifts and calling we would have; He knew in advance our circle of influence, our level of education and opportunity; and He knew what we would accomplish during our time here. In fact, God saw it all before we were born. “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:16

 

So are we actually doing what He purposed for us or are we off on some detour doing our own thing? If He determined that our influence would be a small circle rather than far reaching, will we be content? If He decided that we would be a simple servant doing the Father’s will rather than great in the eyes of the world, will we be content with that also? What if He has chosen for us to suffer for His glory?

 

I don’t have the answers to those questions either, but I do know that many Christians, including me, always seems to be reaching for something greater—yet never quite getting there. Ever wonder why greatness eludes us? If God chooses that our lives bring glory to Him as an ordinary person—not some superstar—shouldn’t we submit to His choosing?

 

I think the best response to What Do I Really Want from God, is this:  I want God to show me His ordained purpose for my life and then help me be content with whatever He has chosen for me—not something great that I’ve dreamed up on my own. ~ Janie Kellogg

 

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Graduation, Life, and Clay Pots May 14, 2013

It’s that time of year when excited young people scurry off to find their dreams, hoping life will contain all those best wishes bestowed on them by friends and family. After graduation, life as they have known it, abruptly slips away and doors close behind them. Did someone say it is time to grow up and become responsible? Yikes! Mighty tall orders for the young applicants of adulthood, wouldn’t you say?

But tall orders are what life is made of—reaching for things yet unknown. Oswald Chambers said that “Our reach must exceed our grasp.”1 If we only reach for what we have already attained, we will not grow, achieve, move on, and mature. Our lives will become stagnant. We must at least try, and try we will.

Yet, before we know it, life plays a trick on us, and we feel that we somehow missed the mark. Our good years vanish into thin air and life’s work seems yet undone. But for a child of God, this need not be the case. God uses the bumps in the road, the boulders in our path, and every wide river to be crossed to shape us for His purpose. His shaping is to be cherished, for God has a carefully crafted plan for each life—that it will, sooner or later, glorify Him.

The poem, “Just an Earthen Vessel,” reflects what had become clear: God doesn’t waste anything! In His time, He will use each of us, just earthen vessels—clay pots if you will—for that purpose for which we were created. We cannot do it on our own. He provides the timing, the planting, the watering, the care, and the growth—we provide the pot. We must simply trust our Heavenly Father’s wise and loving heart.

“Just an Earthen Vessel” is being posted separately today, May 14, 2013, or it can be found under the category: poetry. ~ Janie Kellogg

1Oswald Chambers, My Utmost for His Highest, May 2

Other related posts at Treasure in Earthen Vessels: “Just an Earthen Vessel” Poem, May 14, 2013

 

Just an Earthen Vessel ~ a poem

Just an earthen vessel
Made of common clay.
Seemingly no value,
Nor beauty to display.

Youthful years have vanished
Like the morning dew.
Dreams shattered—visions gone;
No purpose left in view.

A vessel marred within, without;
Cracked and weathered from abuse.
Set aside to be discarded,
Of no apparent use.

Yet in His time the Master came
And held this vessel in His hand.
He had made it for a purpose
That would fit into His plan.

He looked on with great delight
At its grace and at its charm.
For the pain that wrought such beauty
Caused the Master no alarm.

With His power He filled this vessel,
Then placed a rose within.
Soon it began to grow and bloom,
Bringing glory unto Him.

“This is a vessel of honor,”
The Master clearly stated,
“When it fulfills the purpose
For which it was created.”

“I have a plan for every vessel,”
Hear the Master say.
“That the power of My Spirit
Fills each vessel made of clay.”

We have this treasure in earthen vessels that the power may be of God and not of us. 2 Corinthians 4:7 ~ Janie Kellogg

Other related posts at Treasure in Earthen Vessels, “Graduation, Life, and Clay Pots,” May 14, 2013