By Jill Austin
This article appeared in the December 1998 issue of Spirit Led Woman.
Behold, as the clay is in the potter's hand, so are you in My hand, 0 house of Israel. Jer.18:2-6, (The Amplified Bible)
Imagine that you are sitting in church on Sunday and suddenly, the room is filled with the fragrance of Jesus. As you look down the aisle, you notice some incredibly beautiful vessels of the Lord entering the sanctuary.
These vessels are full of the Shekinah glory of the Lord, and their transparent glaze wonderfully reflects the image of Jesus. You immediately know that they have been in the high glory fires of the Lord and that they have paid an incredible price for the powerful anointing they carry.
In your spirit, you see Jesus walking up and down the aisles with wedding gowns on His arms. "Do you want My anointing?" He asks. "Do you want My presence and My miracles?"
"I'm calling you to be My bride," He continues. "I want you to be like the chosen vessels of honor you see here. Do you love Me enough to come with Me?"
The Scriptures tell us, "Many are called, but few chosen" (Matt. 20:16, NKJV). I believe it is the Lord's desire for all of us to be chosen vessels. But many believers are not pursuing the high calling and destiny the Lord has purposed for them because they are not willing to pay the price.
As clay vessels, each of us must take a journey. The steps in this journey can be painful but are necessary for us to be transformed from broken bits of clay into anointed vessels that reflect the glory of the Lord.
When the Lord, the Master Potter, first finds you in the potter's field, you are a broken vessel in need of salvation. He gently picks you up and carries you back to the Potter's house. "Even though you are a shattered clay vessel and all your hopes I and dreams have been destroyed," He tells you, "I have a vision and a destiny for your life."
He takes a rock and begins pounding your broken pieces of clay into fine dust. When you cry out in protest, He explains with great compassion, "I must take out all the rocks, thistles, thorns and foreign Matter - all the debris you have picked up on the highway of life."
Next, He carefully places the clay dust in large bins and pours in the clear living water that proceeds from the throne of God. He drenches you until you've absorbed this living water into every pore of your being. You begin to feel His love as never before.
The Lord then scoops up the moistened clay with His mighty hand and places you on the Potter's wheel. You hear His promise: "I have measured you; I know your portion; I know what destiny I have for you. For even though the enemy would want to kill you, I tell you, I have a mission and a calling for your life."
He begins to center you on the wheel. Slowly, His gentle hands go down into the very depths of who you are and begin to pull up the walls of your new vessel. While you are on the Potter's wheel, being shaped by the hands of the Master Potter, there is a wonderful mystery taking place within you. You are growing! It is a time of great favor and blessing.
But as you go around and around, you begin to notice other vessels sitting on the shelves around the Potter's house. You want to be like them.
"Lord, I love the closeness and intimacy of Your hands," you cry. "But I see all these other vessels sitting on the shelf, and I want to be a part of what they're doing!"
Suddenly the Lord comes with His cutting wire and pulls it under you to cut you off the wheel. Then He places you on the shelf to dry.
What a change this is from being on the wheel, where you were joyfully spinning in the hands of God! At first, you don't mind it too much, but after a month or two, you say, "Uh...you know, Lord, I've been sitting on the shelf for a long time, and I'm really dry. When is my ministry going to begin?"
You remind Him over and over again, "Lord, I've been praying to You!" But you don't feel His presence. In desperation you cry, "God, where are You? I seem to be in a dry and lonely wilderness!"
"You're right," He answers. "You've been promoted!" Surprised, you respond, "But Lord, I thought promotion was getting to start my ministry!"
In His love and wisdom He explains, "Promotion is the wilderness! I've called you here so you can learn to recognize My voice. I'm testing your heart. I'm testing your love for Me. Will you continue to seek My face, or will you turn away?"
When you were on the wheel, there was great intimacy between you and the Lord. Everybody said such wonderful things about your future! But now that you're on the shelf everyone seems to have forgotten you.
"Does God really have a future for your life?" you begin to wonder. "Did He really speak those things to me?"
You've learned all the worship songs by heart, read all the books, been to all the seminars-yet there's a dying in your heart because you feel the Lord has forsaken you. The worst part is that other people don't understand. "Why don't you have more faith?" they ask. They don't understand that God has taken you into the wilderness.
You see, the greater the calling on your life, the greater the misunderstandings and persecutions of other people. This is the price behind the anointing.
"My child," the Lord says, as you seek My face you will find the hidden streams of living water beneath the desert floor. For it is not the reputation and approval of man you need; it is to be so deeply rooted in Me that no matter what storms of life come, you will not be moved.
While God works out His perfect plan your soul is wrestling and dying in the wilderness. Finally, you stop struggling and quietly pray a prayer of resignation: "Lord I'll stay in the wilderness my whole life if have to. I have found You in this desert, and You are all I need."
The Lord has moved you from the shelf to the kiln, from the wilderness to His consuming fire. You can sense the heat. You can feel the relentless blaze. Perspiring yourself, you suddenly look over at the sweaty people next to you and realize you don't even like them!
The Lord never fires just one vessel at a time. He takes a church, a family or a group of friends and sets them on fire to expose everyone's hearts. In the intense heat, all the impurities of the soul come to the surface. Resentment, bitterness, anger and greed are revealed.
As the fire gets hotter, the pain increases. You cry out, "Lord! Everything in my life is dying!" Relationships with family and friends become strained, you experience persecution at work, and you can't get along with the people at church.
"God, if you love me, You'll turn off the heat!" you complain. But the fire continues to blaze even hotter. Finally, the doors open, and the Lord removes the clay vessels and places them back on the shelves.
Now you're actually happy to be in a hidden place. You decide to sit in the back of the church and not give prophecies or be a part of the prayer team anymore. Oh, yes, you still raise your hands and occasionally pray for people, but you've become lukewarm. When the Holy Spirit stirs your heart to give word, you say, "No! If I give a word, others will judge me. No, Lord, find someone else."
For a while, God tolerates your pulling back. Then He begins to nudge your spirit. He says: "Are you willing to settle for this, you want more of Me? Do you want to become My anointed bride?"
Others will be going to different cities and nations. The angels continue to carefully pour, paint and brush glazes onto each vessel before carrying them into a large kiln.
Something deep inside you stirs - that first call, that sense of destiny you felt as a new believer. "Lord," you cry, I don't want to just sit in the back pew and die. You made me to be a lover of your people and to go out and find broken vessels and bring them to the Potter's house.
"I know it won't be easy," you continue. "I know I will pay an incredible price for the anointing I will carry for You. But, Lord, I want to become Your bride."
So the Lord takes you into a huge glazing room filled with tables. Angels are moving pitchers from one table to another and placing them with cups on other tables in preparation for the high firing. The soft sound of weeping is heard as vessels that have been together all their lives are being separated.
God is sovereignly moving His different vessels to prepare them for His Great Commission. Some will be staying at home while others will be going to different cities and nations. The angels continue to carefully pour, paint and brushy glazes onto each vessel before carrying them into a large kiln.
With raging intensity, the second fire starts to burn through the kiln. Quickly you move from a time of separation into a time of death. There are impurities within each clay vessel that only the fire can purge.
The Lord and His angels shut down the dampers on the kiln, cutting off the flow of oxygen and filling the kiln with carbon dioxide. Black soot along with heavy smoke and flames consumes every vessel in the kiln, as it becomes a black fire, your personal Gethsemane.
Abandonment, isolation and death itself are all around you. The fire is so intense that you can't hear or see the dear friends who have been your comforters and intercessors for so many years. Everyone you love seems to leave you as you die in this blazing inferno.
You say: "Lord, the fire! I'm dying in the midst of it! Everything I've built and love my whole life is being consumed!"
Your heart breaks as your reputation and your walk with the Lord is condemned. Competition, position, jealousy and pride are driven out of your life by the purifying flames.
You feel as if you're going to explode under the ever-increasing pressure. The Lord tenderly explains, "My child, in the midst of the blazing fire, a mystery takes place. Brilliant color pushed deep into the body of the clay vessel. "My mysteries and My revelations are revealed in the tremendous pressure of the high glory fire. This is a hidden time when the most beautiful colors are formed in the earthenware vessel. The richness and depth of color come from the darkest hours of agony and grief, just as diamonds, rubies and emeralds come from hot fires inside the earth. In the midst of this second firing My glory is being released into the depth of who you are."
At the moment when you just know you're going to die, the Lord opens all the dampers. Carbon and black soot escape, oxygen pours in, and the fire starts to burn clean, white and fresh The resurrection light of the Lord and Hi white transparent glory fire fill the kiln Everything seems new because you are no longer looking through the haze of ego pride or religiousness. You start to see with clarity in the Spirit.
Suddenly, in the midst of the white transparent, glory fire, you hear the voice of the Lord and see all the angels as well as the Lord Himself. Fresh anointings and impartations are poured out, and fresh hot commissions and renewed visions are etched into the hearts of men.
The Lord begins to place His chosen mantles on various clay vessels. He takes coals of fire and places them on stammering lips to ignite prophetic giftings that were declared over these vessels when they were on the Potter's wheel.
Shaking and crying, healing and deliverance, deep repentance and intercession fill the kiln as hungry hearts cry out for more of God.
They've been through a time of appointing, a time of testing, a time of separation and a time of death, but in this high fire they'll go through a time of resurrection as they start to move in the anointing with authority.
When the Lord walks through the kiln and sees Himself reflected on each vessel as in a mirror, He turns off the kiln. With great joy He announces, "Now that you reflect My glory, I can send you out to all the world." The Master Potter has perfected His work of art.