Shaped and Molded
Being shaped and molded – that’s how we become who we are. We are constantly being molded and shaped. Many times, we don’t even know how we have come where we are. It just happened. Or we just let it happen. We are not aware of how we have become the kind of person we are.
Yes, we were born to be a certain kind of person. I have 5 grandchildren but they are all so different. They were all born differently. Genetically, we have been shaped in a certain way. A lot of our diseases are genetic. Our certain personalities were given at our birth.
Look at Jacob in the Bible. He was born to be a fighter.
Afterwards his brother came out, with his hand gripping Esau’s heel; so he was named Jacob. (Genesis 25:26)
He wanted to come out ahead of his brother. That character brought him a lot of troubles. His character led him to trick his brother to get the birthright. He even tricked his father to get the birthright and ultimately this led him to have to run away from his home.
But what shaped us is not just a genetic coding. We are not genetically predetermined, I am saying.
Someone said this and it makes sense
Various options are pencilled in by our genes, and our life experiences determine which get inked.
We have been shaped by the way we have responded to our situations too.
You can see that in Jacob. He became the kind of person he was because of his circumstances. Nothing came easily for him. Nothing came on a silver platter. He had to fight to get it. Even his wife, he had to fight to get her. He had to fight to get the riches he deserved.
This shaped Jacob to be the person he was. Fighter. Sometimes sly and cunning. But he knew how to fight to win.
This applies to us too. You were born to be a kind of person you are. This is how I was born. Whether you like it or not, you can do nothing about it. You can blame your parents all you want, but there is nothing much you can do.
Also, you cannot do anything about how you have been shaped. It’s already your past. Your circumstances have shaped you to be a kind of person you are. You cannot do anything about the kind of person you have become.
But the good news is that you can always change. That is the Christian message. We can always change. We can always get better. That’s what I believe. That is what freedom is.
Do you believe what St. Paul said?
I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)
If I apply this passage to what I am saying, it is like this.
I can change through him who strengthens me.
You can change. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter how capable you are. It doesn’t matter what your circumstances may be.
You can always change. You can always be better. You can always be the person you want to be.
If you don’t like the person you have become, you can always change. That is a Christian attitude.
Let us not be stuck in where we are. Let us not think that there is nothing much we can do.
There is an old gospel song.
Change my heart, O God,
Make it ever true;
Change my heart, O God,
May I be like you.
You are the Potter,
I am the clay;
Mold me and make me,
This is what I pray.
Free From the Burden
Everything starts with the change of our heart. It is not our circumstances that have shaped us. It is how we have responded to our circumstances. How we respond has a lot to do with our heart. So, when our heart changes, our response to our circumstances will change too.
God gave us freedom. Freedom is not to do whatever you want. Freedom is the power to change. Freedom is to overcome our helplessness. Freedom is to go beyond where we are.
Yes, genetic force is strong. Yes, our environmental force is strong. But I believe that your freedom is stronger. I believe that your confidence is stronger.
Jacob was born to be a fighter. His circumstances made him a fighter. At the end, he even fought God and tried to win. He wrestled with God. But this time, it was different. In the course of trying to fight God, he changed. Jacob became Israel. Israel means God prevails.
We are not helpless with our situations. We are not helpless with what we are born with. We are free to overcome our situations and be the person we want to be. The power to do that. That is the freedom.
God is the potter and we are the clay. God knows what we need. God knows what we desire. God knows the struggles we have.
God works with us to mold us and shape us. If you keep going back to your helplessness and do nothing about it, then even God cannot do anything about you.
Believing in your own power and believing in the power of God are very different. Your heart condition will be very different. Believing in your own power often leads you to devastation. But believing in the power of God leads you always to hope. Those two are very different. You will be molded very differently. If you trust in your own power, it gives you too much pressure. It gives yourself too much burden. You become bound to yourself.
But if you believe in the power of God, you become free from the pressure. Free from the burden.
You are in a much better position to be molded and shaped by positive things. Being shaped by love and hope is much more powerful than being shaped by fear and devastation.
What the disciples learned from Jesus for three years was the power of God. Not just the power of miracles. But they experienced the power of truth from Jesus’ teaching. At the end, they experienced the power of resurrection. That molded and shaped their thinking, their views of their life, and their heart.
Isaiah saw this power of God too.
Have you not known? Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He does not faint or grow weary;
his understanding is unsearchable.
He gives power to the faint,
and strengthens the powerless.
Even youths will faint and be weary,
and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:28-31)
All we need is repentance. Repentance is not feeling bad. Repentance is to do something about ourselves and our life, exercising our freedom, instead of letting ourselves helplessly conditioned and shaped. Repentance is your decision not to let yourself be shaped and molded by your circumstances. Repentance is our decision to be shaped and fashioned by the power of God. Repentance is changing from trusting in your own power to trusting in God’s power. Repentance is letting ourselves in the potter’s hands so that we can be molded and shaped.
You are only a clay. Maybe a broken clay. But when this clay is given to the potter’s good hands, it becomes a beautiful vessel.
That was the image St. Paul had.
But we have this treasure in clay jars, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. (2 Corinthians 4:7-10)
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