Compliant Clay

Leadership Devotional Thought

by Col Larry Simpson, USAF (Ret.)

"'O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter does?' declares the Lord. 'Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand...' " (Jeremiah 18:6).

How do you respond to shaping? I mean the kind of shaping that causes you to conform fully to the one doing the shaping. Some of us conform better than others. As leaders, do you reflect the positive image you desire to see in your followers? I believe most do.

My heart's cry to the statement: "Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand," is that I will never reach the point that God needs to reshape me. When the potter is satisfied with his work, he displays it for use and admiration. The potter only reshapes the clay when it fails to conform to the image the potter intends to fashion.

So it is with the believer. Jesus declared, "You did not choose me, but I chose you..." (John 15:16). God calls us for specific purposes and each purpose comes with an expectation.

What behavior might warrant reshaping? Let's review of the deeds of the flesh found in Galatians 5:19-21. "The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like." The one who does the deeds of the flesh is a candidate for reshaping.

Conversely, the next two verses show us the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. This is a picture of clay conforming to the potter's hand. Good leaders love it when followers comply and excel. In fact, that type of follower is highly regarded.

When we find ourselves not complying to the potter's hand, but leaning more toward the pull of the flesh than deeds of the Spirit, review this performance check:

  • Yield to God's use and desire His total purpose.
  • Submit to the Spirit and commit to follow His lead
  • Examine how you are contributing to the spiritual shaping of others

Though God may deal with us (the clay) as He pleases, we need not be anxious or apprehensive of His molding as we present ourselves to Him in total submission to His skillful hand.


Copyrighted by Officers' Christian Fellowship and Larry Simpson. For personal reflection and growth. Not for distribution.