Do you know the Holy Spirit is seeking to form you into a spiritual vessel for the Master's use?
When the potter puts the clay on the wheel it is composed of a great multitude of particles which could just fall apart at any moment and the clay come to pieces. They are individual particles. But do you notice what is happening on the wheel?
By pressure and manipulation these particles are being pushed together so that they are losing their independence and becoming parts of one whole. If the particles could speak, they might say: 'Well, I don't think I like this idea.
I am being robbed of my independence and am having to accept a life in relation to other particles. I don't think I like that other particle. I would sooner have some other kind of particle next to me, and here is this potter making me live with other things that I don't like! "Oh, for the wings of a dove! Then I would fly away and be at rest!"'
The Potter is forming a body, a vessel, and every part of this vessel has to come into vital relationship with all the other parts. He never consults our likes over this matter, never says: 'Now, would you like to be here and have So-and-so put next to you?'
You see, this is one of the great factors in divine sovereignty. The Lord never consults our wishes in this matter, because one of the great manifestations of His grace is going to be in our ability to live with people we do not like.
I wonder what you would do if you had the choice of your relationships! But the Lord does not give us that choice, for this vessel is called, says the Apostle Paul, "to the praise of the glory of his grace" (Ephesians 1:6).
It does not want much grace to live with people whom we like, but it does take a lot of grace to live with some people. This is the formation of the Holy Spirit - the relatedness of the particular particles particles of the clay in the vessel is through His discipline. And yet there is another aspect of this.
The Lord very rarely puts together two parts which are exactly alike, but He does put parts together so that they can be the complement of each other. This is divine wisdom. Have you ever asked any questions about your physical body? Have you ever asked why you have two eyes instead of one? Why you have two ears and not only one?
Why you have two hands and not only one, or two legs and two feet? Why is there duplication in our bodies? Well, see how you would get on if you only had one leg! You would very soon lose your balance, for you need the other leg to keep you balanced. You put one foot forward and, unless you are just going to hop along with much difficulty, you must have another leg to come up and help.
Of course, there are some people who, not having a second arm or leg, have learned to use the one very well, but that is not natural, and they must often feel the loss of that other limb. There is always some weakness and some lack. Well, if you like to try, you can put this to the test. You can go out from this place (I don't want to see you do it!) and try to get along with one leg.
Do you see the point? God has constituted our bodies on this principle of mutual helpfulness, the one member making good what is lacking in the other. When I was a little boy I used to be taken to church and, not being very interested in the sermon, I had to find some little ways of getting through that awful long time.
One of the things I did was to see how much I could see through one eye, and then how much I could see when I closed that one and looked through the other. I found that I had only half a life when I used one eye! You see, my nose was like a line, and when I closed an eye I could not see very much on the other side of my nose.
It was the same the other way, but when I used both eyes I could see everything. Well, of course, that is just a boy's silly little game. If I closed one eye I did not see some of the things I did not want to see! We need the two sides to make a perfect life, so God has given us two eyes, two hands, two legs and two feet, and each side contributes something to the other side.
Here we are back with this vessel that the Lord is forming. All the particles, while retaining their personality, are to become one vessel. There is one thing that I feel I must say before we conclude. The real formation of this vessel is taking place in heaven. We are always trying to get a perfect expression of the Church on the earth, but we shall never do it. Make no mistake about this! You will have to learn this lesson sooner or later.
At the end of the Bible this vessel is represented as the new Jerusalem and is seen coming down out of heaven. All the ages have been occupied in forming this heavenly vessel. Nevertheless, what is heavenly has to become more and more real in us while we are here. We shall never know what the Lord has been doing with us until we get to heaven, but when we do see all the meaning of His work with us here we shall be very surprised.
There is a larger meaning than we can see, and in those words of the Lord Jesus: "What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shall understand hereafter" (John 13:7). Why it is that the Lord puts us together as He does: why has He called us to live in certain relationships which are not what we would choose? The full explanation of that awaits us in heaven, but that does not mean that we have to wait until we get there to express the relationship.
It is a mark of something being wrong spiritually when members of the Body of Christ separate themselves from other members. Our great peril is to live an independent spiritual life. There is something of a Thomas in most of us. You will remember that when the others were together enjoying the presence of the Risen Lord, Thomas was not there. Fellowship is a spirit before it is anything else. It does not necessitate our always being together in one place.
It is a very precious thing to be able to be together as the Lord's people, for many of them live a very lonely spiritual life. Nevertheless, fellowship is a spirit more than it is geographical. When the Apostle said: "Giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit " (Ephesians 4:3), he was not only localizing that.
It is an exhortation to the whole Church, scattered over all the earth - "giving diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit". It is the "unity of the Spirit" - fellowship is a spiritual thing. Now the Potter, by the energy of the Holy Spirit, is seeking to form a heavenly vessel, and the formation is a progressive day-by-day expression of the Lord Jesus. by T. Austin Sparks