THE POTTER’S WORK
THE TESTIMONY OF MY FULL SURRENDER TO THE LORD JESUS CHRIST
by Elsabe Briers
When I was little, I was very strong-willed and remember an incident where I was about 6 years old, riding with my grandmother in a horse-cart, which was my most favorite treat whenever I visited her. There were two horses before the cart and immediately I wanted to take a hold of the reins. My grandmother had her hands full to control the very lively horses, but gave me the back part of the reins. I remember how annoyed I was with her for not wanting to give me the full reins. This was part of the background of my carnal nature.
I grew up in church, very secure in my heavenly Father’s Love (because of a remarkable miracle at the age of 9), loving Jesus, loved the Word, but not having any understanding of the Holy Spirit, with the result that I was totally in control of my own life.
There was a song that was regularly sung in the church, “You are the Potter, I am the clay, make me and form me…” but I would never participate in singing this song, because I reasoned that I would not want to give God any right of doing something in my life that I didn’t know the details of beforehand. This of course was through fear of losing control. I wanted Him to give me my desires and fulfill my plans and ideas they way I thought fit.
As a grown-up I started doing pottery and found it so creative that soon all my interest was caught up in making pots. God had a plan in this, since I thoroughly learned the process that clay has to go through to be made into a useful vessel. Later on I held exhibitions and became a teacher in pottery and it became a great source of income for the extras that a large family needed.
At God’s appointed time a notice was handed out at the church of a women’s seminar in a nearby town. I kept on “finding” this little flyer and it started to get my attention. A woman who was one of my pottery students phoned me one day and asked whether I would like to go with her to the seminar. We agreed that we would go home before it ended if we wouldn’t enjoy it, since I was reluctant to go and spend all day at a “religious” meeting.
There were break-out sessions and one had the title, “The Potter and the clay”. Needless to say, this caught my attention and by the end of the session I was broken and “hooked”. There was such an anointing on the meeting that we didn’t want to go home by the end of the day and when the altar call came for those who wanted to “Surrender their lives to the Lord”, I was the first to respond. My life would never be the same after this and I lost all interest in the things of the world.
ALL OR NOTHING
It was during some special prayer meetings at the local church that God started to speak to me about pottery being an idol in my life. I knew I could not serve two gods and it was time to choose between the two – God or the pottery. Not that there is anything wrong with doing pottery, but my heart was divided. I kicked and butted, but the Holy Spirit would not leave me in double-mindedness and after 3 days of wrestling, I cried out to God that I would never go into the studio again. I handed over and a supernatural peace came over me. Since that day I have totally lost all interest in making pots.
Now, by the grace of God, I started developing a desire to know the Holy Spirit. I was an avid reader and student and tried to study a book by Andrew Murray on the Holy Spirit, but couldn’t understand anything about the content (feeling frustrated because I had quite a high opinion of my own intellect). I had a fast reading speed, being able to grasp facts quickly, but after six months I still couldn’t get past the first few pages of the book – not able to fathom the meaning of a simple sentence. My impatience and frustration grew by the day, and then I called out to God for understanding of the Holy Spirit.
SURRENDER OF THE “SELF-WILL”
As I was praying one day, I heard the Lord say, “I want you to surrender your self to Me”. I knew He wanted me to give Him the control of my life. As impetuous and audacious as I was, I immediately protested loudly with, “But Lord, I do not want to be like a puppet on a string and I would hate to be like a meek little nobody, having no backbone!”
What happened next was engrafted in my whole being, as if it happened a few moments ago: Immediately I was caught up in a vision and saw my whole life passing before my eyes like a slideshow. Without a word from the Lord, I understood how I grieved the Holy Spirit with my utter selfishness, self-control and self-power. I also had a quick temper that rose up the moment I didn’t get my way. It was so utterly repulsive that I felt I was going to throw up in disgust of my self. I came face to face with the sinfulness of my self-nature and I couldn’t bear to look at it, being totally undone.
Sobbing uncontrollably, I fell on my face, and cried out to God for His mercy and grace, expecting fully that He wasn’t going to let me live for another moment. Luke 23:30 came to me,” Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, fall on us; and to the hills, cover us.” The fear of God fell on me and I felt that I wanted to crawl beneath the carpet, while crying out to the Lord to deliver me from my “old woman”.
Then I remembered that He asked me to surrender my “self” and I cried out to the Holy Spirit that I wanted to give Him my all, not holding back anything ever again and that He could form me, make me, mold me into whatever shape and form pleased Him, and put me through the fire as many times He deemed fit in order to become what He has destined me to be. (I was a potter and I fully knew the process).
A supernatural peace came upon me and I felt as if I have passed out of myself into another dimension, although I had no understanding of what had just happened to me. Jesus was now truly enthroned as Lord, having been given the full reins of my life.
In that same day I noticed that my behavior was different, without any effort of my own. It was as though I watched and observed and realized that I have come under control of the Holy Spirit. Shortly after I was baptized in the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation also enlightened the eyes of my understanding and suddenly I started receiving revelations of the Christ. When my life had taken a 180 degree turn, a separation took place from the world and sin, but now God was dealing with the “self”-life. I surrendered my rights to my “self” and submitted my will to the control of the Holy Spirit. Yet it would be some years before I finally died to myself, after having gone through many testings of fire and purification.
YIELD, SURRENDER AND ABANDON
After some years, I had a dream in which I clearly heard the three words, “Yield, surrender and abandon”. This led to a period of 5 months in total seclusion with the Holy Spirit, teaching me about the place of abandonment of all cares, pre-occupations and affections of the soul, until, by His grace, I could pass into the glory of union with Him where there is fullness of joy and peace.
I still affirm my total dependence on the Lord on a daily basis, worshiping Him in the union-life in the Spirit. He is my King and my Lord and His reign is glorious! He truly is the Potter and I the clay and He gloriously weaved this message through my life like a golden thread of His merciful dealings with me. This was accomplished by His amazing grace and I will ever be thankful to My Lord for this!
Dear Reader, if you haven’t completely surrendered your life to the control of the Holy Spirit, my prayer is that God would grant you the grace to do so now. Simply surrender your heart, soul, mind and strength to Him and you will experience such a glorious liberty in the Spirit as you never had before. Let His Name be glorified in your life, His Kingdom come and His will be done. Amen.