taught to the teacher

Several years ago, I assigned my students book reports, and many of them (in different classes) chose to do the various books from the Chronicles of Narnia. I figured, since I had never read any of them, that I would read them too.

So I started with the first book and went through the series. I discovered two things. First, these are excellent books! I should have guessed this, since I truly enjoyed C.S. Lewis’s Screwtape Letters and Mere Christianity, but I was still pleasantly surprised. The second thing that I discovered was that some of my students who were claiming to read these books were only reading the first chapter and the back cover and then using that limited information to write their book reports. See, little did they know that I had read the same books that they had read, so I knew exactly what happened in each book.

At first, I was really frustrated. I thought, I know exactly what these stories are about. Do they seriously think they can fool me with these “short-cut” book reports? They have the nerve to tell me that they read the whole book?

And then my thoughts wandered… and I was convicted.

Are there not times when I do almost the same thing with God? I take “short-cuts” and convince myself that I have done what was required of me, but am I seriously trying to fool my omniscient God? I wonder if God looks at me and says I know exactly what you are about and do you think you are fooling me with your “short-cuts”? 

Have you really convinced yourself that you have read your Bible as you should? 

Prayed as you should? 

Yielded to the Holy Spirit as you should? 

Shared the Gospel as you should? 

Obeyed as you should? 

Trusted me as you should? 

Helped others, rather than self, as you should? 

Loved as you should?

Lived the Christian life as you should? 

It’s your reasonable service.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. ~ Romans 12:1-2

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the Potter’s hands

Jeremiah 18:4 – And the vessel that he made of clay was marred in the hand of the potter: so he made it again another vessel, as seemed good to the potter to make it.

I love this picture that God gives in the book of Jeremiah. In context, it is a picture of His relationship with Israel, but I think it is also a picture of His relationship with me. In this picture, I have learned much of the love and grace of God. When the clay is marred, it is marred within the potter’s hands… and the same is true for me.

When I am marred, whether it be by wrong choices or by circumstances beyond my control, I am still in the almighty hand of my Potter. He is continually working to make me into the vessel He wants me to be – and all this for my good and His glory. He works past all my flaws, my scars, and my shortcomings, and amends each disfigurement to make me a much stronger and more beautiful vessel. He does what I could never do in my own power.

If I attempted to rectify any imperfection in my own strength, I would fall so miserably short. The vessel I would create would look a pitiful mess when compared to the exquisite vessel He could create… if I let go and let Him work.

He can do the same for you. Will you relinquish all you hold in your hands – your desires, your will? I know it can be hard. Maybe like me, you’re a “control freak”… but always keep in mind that His desire and His will are above and beyond what we could dream, and He is able to do above anything we could ask or think! (Ephesians 3:20)