Right shape

asters-469797_640Exodus 39:3: And they hammered out gold leaf, and he cut it into threads to work into the blue and purple and the scarlet yarns, and into the fine twined linen, in skilled design.

You need to be cut into the right shape, because life is about you fitting into the plans of God, and not about God fitting into yours.

The bible says that known to God are his works from eternity past (Acts 15:18). Since his knowledge is comprehensive and our knowledge is limited, we need to be submitted to the cutting process to be in the right shape and form to be used in the hands of God. We need him to get to the right place and the right time for our destiny and purpose. We do not get to pick our ways or make our choice, he makes our choices for us. The bible says: the Lord will choose our inheritance for us, the excellency of Jacob whom he loves (Psalm 47:4).

God send Jeremiah to the house of a potter to explain something about what he wants his relationship with the nation of Israel to be. He said he is the potter and determines the shape the clay should take (Jeremiah 18:1-6).

If the shape coming out of the pottery process was not good enough, the potter can remake it, breaking what he had made first. It is all at his discretion. The clay cannot have a mind of its own and still be clay, the only mind in the interaction between the potter and the clay is the potter’s.

Jesus said that his father is the husbandman and his is the vine, while we are the branches. He added that that the branch which bears fruit in him (John 15:1-8), is pruned so as to bear more fruit. The process of pruning is removing parts of the branch that are not contributing to the production just feeding on the vine. Therefore the branch is cut into a better shape for enhanced productivity.

When God called Gideon to be the deliverer in Israel, and the number of people who responded to the call to war by Gideon was about 30000 (Judges 7:1-9). God decided that he should cut the number into a smaller shape. He believed that with such large number, when the victory comes, the people will ascribe the glory to themselves, and not to God, which will make them puffed up and at the end of it, he will have to punished, for not ascribing glory to him. Jonathan said that it is nothing for God to save with many or with a small number (1Samuel 14:6).

Discipleship is about coming into the right shape. When some people believed in Jesus, they though that that was enough, but Jesus told them that was just the beginning. He said if they continue in his word, they will be his disciples indeed and they will know the truth which will manifest in their lives as freedom from sin (John 8:3-32). It was sin that needs to be cut from their lives so that they can be in the right holiness shape. There are excesses that needs to be cut from us.

The summary of John the Baptist as a forerunner, was that he was supposed to get the people of God to the right shape to receive Jesus (Isaiah 40:1-5).

He was the fulfilment of the prophecy of Isaiah which goes thus: a voice crying in the wilderness make strength the way of the lord, every valley shall exalted and crooked path made smooth, every mountain shall come down, and the glory of the Lord, manifest in Jesus (as many years later was made plain) shall be released. All are about the path shaped appropriately for God’s glory to be made manifest, it is about making a people prepared for the Lord (Luke 1:14-17).

Being in the right shape is not just about what to be removed by also what to add. Before Jesus released his disciples to carry the message of his resurrection to their world, he said they needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8).

Peter gave a list of some things that should be added to the Christians so that we might be in the right shape (2Peter 1:5-11). He said certain things should added to faith, being the foundation. Jude wrote that we should contend for the faith that was once and for all delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3). Because once the essence of faith is compromised there is nothing else, no other foundation that can be laid expect that which is laid which is Jesus, i.e. faith in Jesus. Without that foundation there is no shape the building will take.

Below are some of the things Peter said needed to be added to the saving faith.

Virtue

There is no running away from the need to be of excellence character. When Jesus said that we are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), it means manifesting virtues of godly character. Faith without works, James wrote, is dead (James 2:26).

Knowledge

There is nothing advantageous about being ignorant. Spiritual growth is partly measured in knowledge and grace (2Peter 3:18). And there must be an hunger and thirst for truth in you before you are filled, because Christ would not care to cast his knowledge pearls before swine, those who have no interest in or value for it (Matthew 7:6).

Jesus, aghast, asked Nicodemus during a discussion with him: are you the teacher of Israel and you do not know this things (John 3:10)? So knowledge must once again be elevated in the church. Truth is meant to empower. The bible says that those who know their God will be strong and do exploits (Daniel 11:32). But to learn we need to put on humility.

Self-control

This is about temperance, being able to curb the appetite, what goes into our mouth in the food we eat and what comes out of it in the words we speak. It also has to do with the emotion. The man that cannot control his emotion still has a long way to go.

Steadfastness

This has to do with being tenacious. The ability to exhibit faithfulness in the most difficult of circumstances. To be steadfast you need vision. Moses followed God because as the writer of the book of Hebrews says: he endured as seeing the invisible (Hebrews 11:27).

Godliness

This is about holiness. It is not about externals, but which goes on the inside the head, in the thought and intent of the heart (Hebrews 4:16). In the secrets in the heart, in the words spoken in privacy.

David prayed: let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you oh God (Psalm 19:14). He does not just want to be seen as godly by those who are outside, but he wants to be holy in the privacy of his thoughts. Paul enjoins us to offer our bodies, our members to God as instruments of righteousness, glorifying God.

Love

Love is the capstone of everything that should be added. Paul wrote that three things are eternal, love, hope and faith and the greatest is love (1Corinthians 13:13). Jesus expressed his love by his sacrifice. He said no greater love can one have than laying down his life for his brothers (John 15:13). And when love is added, every other thing can take the right shape because God is love (1John 4:8).

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