Character and Clay Pots – Part II

Napa Valley Winery, CA


The correlation of the forging of our character and clay pots may not bring a rousing cheer from our lips when we feel burdened, battered, broken, and bruised. I know when I have felt that way I certainly wanted a better option. I also know that my vision, patience, and tolerance are often very limited. In the midst of life’s challenges, I am usually looking for a way out or a solution rather than how my character develops.


Each of us is unique. Before we knew about DNA and all it reveals, we would say we were unique without proof of the many intricate pieces of DNA, which confirm the statement. That uniqueness means that the Lord’s methods for shaping us so that our character reflects more of Him are also varied, but this is where the correlation with clay pots becomes more intriguing.


There are also different types of clay used to create clay pots. Different clays mature at different temperatures and it’s crucial the temperature the clay is fired at fits the type of clay pot. One type of clay pot fired at one temperature might be soft and porous, while the same clay pot fired at a different temperature may be hard and impervious. But one more important step remains. The kiln, which has been heated to very high temperatures, must be cooled very slowly or the pots will develop cracks and the work will be destroyed.


What makes all the difference creating the quality and survival of the clay pot? The potter. Only the skilled potter knows the clay and what precise things are needed to produce the clay pot he has designed and purposed to make.


We, too, have a potter. He is intimately acquainted with each of us. He knows what we are made of and what is needed and when it is needed to bring about within us the character that reflects Him. His love for us means He doesn’t plan to provide trials and difficulties in order for our character to develop. As the potter who knows the environment within which we live, He is well aware trials and difficulties of all sorts will come to each of us in different seasons. He uses them to bring about good in us, to draw us closer to His heart, to grow our trust and our faith, and to mature us in all ways. Growth is something we know is good and we desire, but it doesn’t come without pressure and oftentimes pain.


In both Old and New Testament, we see illustrations related to clay pots or vessels. One example in the Old Testament is found in Judges related to Gideon, but the New Testament gives us a glimpse of what I hope you will see about the correlation of character and clay pots. Paul writes about it in II Corinthians 4:7 where refers to us in one translation as earthen vessels and in another as clay pots. The illustration in the passage adds one thing I have not talked about yet, the treasure within the clay pots.


Come back Friday for one last look in Clay Pots – III


15 thoughts on “Character and Clay Pots – Part II

  1. So many details into the potter and the clay I never knew! (I absolutely stunk at this part of art in 8th grade! lol!) How cool that it so deeply connects to our Potter and His molding of us. Love it! Thanks so much for this encouragement!
    Blessings and smiles,

    1. I was never good at art either, but as I was studying the passage about earthen vessels and I began to check into this area. When I did, I was fascinated with how much richer the passage became for me and I was excited to share what I had discovered. Peace and hugs!

  2. Hello Pam. You have written about the very things I have been thinking about and studying in the Psalms. How affliction draws us closer to the Almighty, but oh, how hard it is to go through the trial! Thank you for explaining the different clays and temperatures needed for strength and usability. (Sounds a lot like us people, hmm.)
    I’m visiting from #ChasingCommunity. Have a lovely evening.

  3. That’s interesting about the different types of clay requiring the different temperatures and times. I don’t think it’s ever occurred to me to consider that before. And, how sweet the Potter knows what our type is and the temperature we need for each season of our process. Praise God. 🙂 — Thanks for sharing with #ChasingCommunity, Pam! ((hug))

  4. Pam, Wow! This was an extremely insightful post! I never thought about how there are different materials used for different types of clay pots and the care of each in its creation and “maintenance”.

    So thankful that we have our Heavenly Father as the potter of these clay pots we inhabit and that He cares for every part of us and redeems everything that touches us.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Hi Pam! So interesting to read about the difference kinds of clay and their firing points. I didn’t know that! We as humans are all different, and what calls to me as authentic from God might not call to someone else. Only the potter knows what’s effective.
    I guess that means when I’m going through trial, it’s one I can carry through because my Potter knows me so well. Well, okay. I’ll try to see how I develop, instead of looking for a way out (just as you mentioned!).

    1. Hi there! I thought it was fascinating about different types of clay requiring different firing. It added so much to the scripture about earthen (clay pots) vessels. Blessings on your day!

  6. Growth can be painful! But it’s comforting to know that He is forming us to be our best. And He wants so much to give His best to us, shaping us into a beauty that we cannot even fathom!

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