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Trust for Life (Part 4)

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Imagine the marble turning to Michelangelo and saying, “My arms aren’t shaped the way I like. I’d rather you give me a smaller nose. I’d prefer to wear some clothes. “The sculptor never debates with the marble about what he’s doing. It’s absurd to imagine the marble arguing with Michelangelo about the shape it is being given.

Whether we are talking about stone, canvas, or clay, artists have the right to design whatever they desire from th

Imagine the marble turning to Michelangelo and saying, “My arms aren’t shaped the way I like. I’d rather you give me a smaller nose. I’d prefer to wear some clothes. “The sculptor never debates with the marble about what he’s doing. It’s absurd to imagine the marble arguing with Michelangelo about the shape it is being given.

Whether we are talking about stone, canvas, or clay, artists have the right to design whatever they desire from their materials. Clay pots are a common metaphor throughout Scripture. The prophets chastised Israel for quarreling with the Potter over how He crafted them. Paul picks up this theme when he writes to the Romans, “But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honored use and another for dishonorable use?” (Romans 9:20-21).

Yet we as leaders tend to trust our intuition over God’s direction. So, when we aren’t being formed the way we believe we ought to be – our position doesn’t quite have the prestige we think we deserve, the accolades aren’t arriving as we anticipated they would, our best laid plans fall apart, a job we want goes to a peer – we begin to feel that God isn’t looking out for our best interests. That’s when we fall captive to our own blind self-confidence. In short, we try to become both the potter and the clay. We want to call the shots on how we should be made and used.

Of course marble, canvas, and clay are inanimate objects, but Paul uses the picture of the clay pot to show us that we need to trust the God who created us so He can form us into His kind of leaders. Our responsibility is to trust rather than complain. In this session, we look at how we seek to wrestle control from God. Then we see the four symptoms of the Dreaded Leader’s Disease. By the end of the teaching time, we will stand in the tomb of Jesus and ask the question, “Can you trust the Artist with your life?”

Video - Wanting to be god:

Symptoms of the Dreaded L.D.

    1st Symptom - Destructive Competition (Mark 9:30-34)
    2nd Symptom - Power Plays (Mark 10:32-37)
    3rd Symptom - Insensitivity (Luke 22:14–24 )
    4th Symptom - Blind Self-Confidence (Mark 14:27-30 )

Why are we competitive? Why are we striving for power?
Because there’s something in our hearts that’s missing,
something that we seek to fill by overcoming others so we can feel superior
to them. We think that’s leadership.

“They went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them.”
- Mark 16:8

Key Points:

We follow the man who calls us to carry
the cross on our backs to the tomb.
That’s leadership for us.

  • We as leaders will do everything we can to please God, but will we fall into the trap of wanting to please ourselves at the same time?
  • A radical biblical leader lives a death/life lifestyle. We put to death our core expectations and we find life when we trust Christ to raise us from the dead and give us what He wants us to have.

Probing Deeper:

    1. Were you one of the ones protesting that you did not have a hardened heart? That you have done everything you can to please God? How do you respond to the call of the cross?

    2. Of the three ways that we try to become God – determine our reality, define our identity, or decide our security – which one do you struggle with the most and why?

    3. We looked at four symptoms of the Dreaded Leader’s Disease.

      A. Destructive Competition

      B. Power Plays

      C. Insensitivity

      D. Blind Self-Confidence

      Try and define each in your own words. Then describe how each symptom impacts your life. Apply this question to yourself, “Why do you struggle with these symptoms?”

    4. Do you remember those core expectations from the earlier lesson? Have you taken them into the tomb and left them there?

    5. Are you laying in the grave right now? Will you give up all control and trust Jesus to raise you from the dead? Will you say “yes” to the grave?

Transforming the Heart:

In the Old Testament, “form” is the root of the word “potter.” God prepares us as His clay, places us on the wheel, and gradually shapes us into the vessel of His choosing. God is intensely involved in forming us for an eternity of service.

What does it mean to you to have God as the Potter in your life? What does it mean that He is forming you into the kind of clay pot He wants you to be?

Have you ever had feelings of dissatisfaction because of the type of clay pot God is forming you to be? Do you ever feel like you’re a water pot when you would really like to be a decorative urn or a Ming vase? What impact do these feelings have on you personally? On your marriage and parenting? On your leadership?

Paul calls us clay pots – merely baked dirt – in 2 Corinthians 4:7.

We’d prefer to be a precious piece of ceramic, even a beautiful umbrella stand in some grand entry hall. But not a water pot, and, God forbid, never a chamber pot.

So in our disgust we, the clay, decide to become the potter and make ourselves something nobler. We want to make God’s hands our hands and wrestle control away from the Potter. We seek to determine our reality, define our identity, and decide our security. Whether it’s through money, image management, safety, or superiority, when we try to put ourselves in ultimate control, we’ve fallen into idolatry. Only God can determine reality. And God has already defined our identity. Most of all, God alone is our security. So, we strive foolishly to become the Potter and in the end we create idols and turn ourselves into worthless heaps of useless clay.

Renewing The Mind:

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hardpressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
– 2 Corinthians 4:7-9

 

Related Topics: Discipleship, Issues in Church Leadership/Ministry, Leadership