Imagine that you are sitting in church one Sunday and suddenly, the room is filled with the fragrance of Jesus. As you look down the aisle, you notice some incredibly beautiful vessels of the Lord entering the sanctuary.

These vessels are full of the Shekinah glory of the Lord, and their transparent glaze wonderfully reflects the image of Jesus. You immediately know that they have been in the high glory fires of the Lord and that they have paid an incredible price for the powerful anointing they carry.

In your spirit, you see Jesus walking up and down the aisles with wedding gowns on His arms. “Do you want My anointing?” He asks. “Do you want My presence and My miracles?

“I’m calling you to be My bride,” He continues. “I want you to be like the chosen vessels of honor you see here. Do you love Me enough to come with Me?”

The Scriptures tell us, “Many are called, but few chosen” (Matt. 20:16, NKJV). I believe it is the Lord’s desire for all of us to be chosen vessels. But many believers are not pursuing the high calling and destiny the Lord has purposed for them because they are not willing to pay the price.

As clay vessels, each of us must take a journey. The steps in this journey can be painful but are necessary for us to be transformed from broken bits of clay into anointed vessels that reflect the glory of the Lord.

Step 1. The Potter’s House

When the Lord, the Master Potter, first finds you in the potter’s field, you are a broken vessel in need of salvation. He gently picks you up and carries you back to the Potter’s house. “Even though you are a shattered clay vessel and all your hopes and dreams have been destroyed,” He tells you, “I have a vision and a destiny for your life.”

He takes a rock and begins pounding your broken pieces of clay into fine dust. When you cry out in protest, He explains with great compassion, “I must take out all the rocks, thistles, thorns and foreign matter—all the debris you have picked up on the highway of life.”

Next, He carefully places the clay dust in large bins and pours in the clear living water that proceeds from the throne of God. He drenches you until you’ve absorbed this living water into every pore of your being. You begin to feel His love as never before.

Step 2. The Potter’s Wheel

The Lord then scoops up the moistened clay with His mighty hand and places you on the Potter’s wheel. You hear His promise: “I have measured you; I know your portion; I know what destiny I have for you. For even though the enemy would want to kill you, I tell you, I have a mission and a calling for your life.”

He begins to center you on the wheel. Slowly, His gentle hands go down into the very depths of who you are and begin to pull up the walls of your new vessel.

Step 3. The Potter’s Shelf

While you are on the Potter’s wheel, being shaped by the hands of the Master Potter, there is a wonderful mystery taking place within you. You are growing! It is a time of great favor and blessing.

But as you go around and around, you begin to notice other vessels sitting on the shelves around the Potter’s house. You want to be like them.

“Lord, I love the closeness and intimacy of Your hands,” you cry. “But I see all these other vessels sitting on the shelf, and I want to be a part of what they’re doing!”

Suddenly the Lord comes with His cutting wire and pulls it under you to cut you off the wheel. Then He places you on the shelf to dry.

What a change this is from being on the wheel, where you were joyfully spinning in the hands of God! At first, you don’t mind it too much, but after a month or two, you say, “Uh...you know, Lord, I’ve been sitting on the shelf for a long time, and I’m really dry. When is my ministry going to begin?”

You remind Him over and over again, “Lord, I’ve been praying to You!” But you don’t feel His presence. In desperation you cry, “God, where are You? I seem to be in a dry and lonely wilderness!”

“You’re right,” He answers. “You’ve been promoted!” Surprised, you respond, “But, Lord, I thought promotion was getting to start my ministry!”

In His love and wisdom He explains, “Promotion is the wilderness! I’ve called you here so you can learn to recognize My voice. I’m testing your heart. I’m testing your love for Me. Will you continue to seek My face, or will you turn away?

When you were on the wheel, there was great intimacy between you and the Lord. Everybody said such wonderful things about your future! But now that you’re on the shelf, everyone seems to have forgotten you.

“Does God really have a future for my life?” you begin to wonder. “Did He really speak those things to me?” You’ve learned all the worship songs by heart, read all the books, been to all the seminars—yet there’s a dying in your heart because you feel the Lord has forsaken you.

The worst part is that other people don’t understand. “Why don’t you have more faith?” they ask. They don’t understand that God has taken you into the wilderness.

You see, the greater the calling on your life, the greater the misunderstandings and persecutions of other people. This is the price behind the anointing.

“My child,” the Lord says, “as you seek My face you will find the hidden streams of living water beneath the desert floor. For it is not the reputation and approval of man you need; it is to be so deeply rooted in Me that no matter what storms of life come, you will not be moved.”

While God works out His perfect plan, your soul is wrestling and dying in the wilderness. Finally, you stop struggling and quietly pray a prayer of resignation: “Lord, I’ll stay in the wilderness my whole life if I have to. I have found You in this desert, and You are all I need.”

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