But now, O Lord, You are our Father,
We are the clay, and You our potter;
And all of us are the work of Your hand.
Does God have a plan for my life?
That is the age-old question isn’t it? One that we have all asked, directly or indirectly. Our hearts yearn for purpose and we desire to know what we’re meant to do.
The prophet Isaiah likens the LORD to a potter. A potter takes a lump of clay and forms it into the shape he desires. We are the LORD’s clay. He determines the shape of our character and the intricacies of our hearts. He molds us through His discipline, instructions, and the ebbs and flows of life. This implies that there is some sort of plan, some sort of image of who we should be.
This is confirmed in the book of Proverbs:
the mind of a man plans his way,
but the LORD directs his steps,
You can make many plans,
but the LORD’s purpose will prevail.
Proverbs 19:21 (NLT)
The LORD directs our steps according to His will and purposes.
There are two Greek words used in the New Testament to describe the will of God, boule and thelema. According to his book, Can I know God’s Will, R.C. Sproul says that boule refers to the LORD’s carefully deliberated plan which is predetermined and inflexible. This is the Lord’s grand sovereign plan that cannot be changed and that will come to pass with or without us.
This was the creation of the earth.
This was David becoming king.
This was Jesus on the cross.
Thelema, on the other hand, “refers to what is agreeable, what is desired, what is intended, what is chosen, or what is commanded” and has “notions of consent, desire, purpose, resolution, and command.” The specific meaning depends on the context of when it is used but I am focusing on the one that implies consent. This is the Lord’s desires for man and man have the free will to follow or not follow what the Lord’s wills.
This is His desire that all be saved.
This is His call to obedience.
This is what we pray for—to know what is agreeable, desired, intended, chosen, or commanded for our lives. So we pray for God’s will for our lives to be revealed, though what we are really asking is to be given the script of our lives. We want to know what work we should do, who we should marry, where we should go, and we want to know right now.
It doesn’t always happen that way.
The Scriptures are full of stories about people being called by God for a specific purpose and we envy them, however, there are thousands of untold stories of regular people just living their lives to honor the LORD.
In the coming weeks we’ll take a look at the ways that God’s reveals His will to His people and how we can know the Potter’s Plan.