This morning in prayer, with many deep and unresolved needs on my heart, the old hymn Have Thine Own Way came over my heart.
Have Thine own Way, Lord! Have Thine own way…
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay…
It’s a hymn I have loved for many years; this morning what moved me, broke me, was the drawing nigh of a certain Spirit that enabled me to pray this, not for my own attainment, but for the Potter’s own sake, for the love of the Potter. Do you know what I mean?
In His Presence and Spirit I felt such conviction; oh how unaware I am that my motives are often quite selfish; I seek the things of God just for my own sake. But the Spirit, with God’s own interests at heart, drew nigh and inspired me to pray, “Have Thine own way, Lord… that You may truly have Your liberty in my life, the desire of Your own heart in my life.” I felt so broken by how deeply God longs for this in each and every one of us… yes, for our own benefit, but for His own as well. The vessel is, after all, for the Potter. He greatly longs for full expression in us, for He knows our needs more deeply than we ourselves do, and knows that only He can meet them.
And so, He will continue working in our lives till He has helped us to totally forsake all our own efforts and strivings to attain to Christian fulfillment, or resolve our problems… and yield it all to Him, and become totally surrendered in His hands, so that He can mold us and make us to be what He wants us to be, and have His own Way and desire in our lives—and do what He wants to do.
In a vessel such as this, He Himself lives and moves and has His being among men once again, for He Himself is present with men once again—in you and me—just as He was in His only begotten Son. This is His own hope in all His dealings in our lives, in all His moldings, shapings… that, instead of our own workings to resolve the problems around us, we ourselves become the Potter’s own workmanship, and the things we do His own workings among men.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works which God hath before prepared that we should walk in them.
How precious a hope this is to Him, and if the beauty of this purpose of the Potter has laid hold on us, we share it with Him. He knows (and surely you and I know also) that it is He Himself those around us must encounter—He and His own workings.
We are His workmanship—the project most special to His heart, His great handiwork—created in Christ Jesus to walk in works that He has prepared for us to walk in, beautiful works that accomplish far more than we could ever think of accomplishing by our own efforts.
The thing is—and this realization in the Spirit overwhelmed me this morning—oh how deeply I need the Spirit of Christ! Only He can cause me to see the beauty of the Lord, and motivate my heart aright. My heart is small and cold… and He comes, draws nigh, and suddenly I am feeling afresh the flame of His own desire, and am seeing as He sees. How I need You, dear Lord Jesus! How deeply I need Your Spirit afresh! You kindle renewed desire, and the flame of Your Spirit… oh, how it consumes the bonds of the yoke my heart is bound under. I am bound by nature to… to myself. I need so deeply the operation of the Spirit of Christ which alone can set me free. No work of my own can do it! I need Your Spirit, Lord, Your Presence, that beautiful Presence that steals upon me, and motivates me out of Your very own heart.
Come, Lord—come and abide! Why do You come… and then hide Yourself again? How I need Your beautiful Presence… You Yourself, to come and abide. I need You to abide, Your beautiful free and freeing Spirit in whom the Law of grace reigns, the Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus that sets me free from all toil, and labour, and striving, and spinning, and causes me to rest. As You have promised: “I will shepherd My flock, and I will cause them to lie down…”
But now, O LORD, Thou art our Father; we are the clay, and Thou our potter: and we all are the work of Thy hand.
Yet where is the touch of Your hand, my Potter? Why have You left me like this? The clay feels forsaken, unfinished. Has the Potter forsaken the work of His own hands? Am I still on Your wheel? Am I still pliable, moldable, shapeable? I feel hard, brittle. When will You take me in hand again, and finish the work You started in my life?
And with such thoughts as these… they are not doubts, they are longings… I find myself longing for, aching for, the kind of working and walk that is not my own doing, but the Potter’s own workmanship in the earth in a yielded vessel who is walking in those prepared works of His, the kind of walk that satisfies the inmost longings of the heart—both His heart and mine—and meets every impossible need.
But the Potter has not forsaken the work of His own hands. How can He deny Himself? The longing I feel… it is His own, and He will not forsake His own longings. Nor His own work. In fact, He has already guaranteed this kind of walk for me, cutting a Covenant with His own beloved Son on my behalf. The Son of God walked this kind of walk on my behalf that He might send forth His Spirit into my heart, the Spirit that alone can break the chain in which I labour, and bring me into the Bond of the Covenant, liberating me into the longed-for total surrender of myself into the hands of the Master Potter, that He might have His Way… and total liberty to do as He wishes in my life, do just as He pleases—and reveal Himself to men as He is.
Is that not just what the hymnist, too, longs for? “Christ only always living in me,” having His own way in me, manifesting Himself and His love in me, doing through me what He alone can do. This, I know, will accomplish what nothing else has ever been able to accomplish.
I know also that I will make a discovery then. When He has His own way in me, I will find the desire of my own heart beyond my fondest dreams. In fact what I had previously conceived in my own mind, and hoped for, and tried to accomplish, will make me blush. For, when the Potter has His own way in me, I myself will find beyond measure, exceeding abundantly above all I could ever ask, or even think.
And under His absolute sway shall discover a paradox: a liberty I never dreamed of. In total surrender to the Master Potter I enter a realm of, oh, such liberty—a walk in the Spirit that can only be described as walking “on the wings of the Wind.”
And so, dear Lord, please be merciful to me… and never leave me to myself, never leave me pursuing anything less than this. Save me from living a life in which You Yourself have not had Your way, a life that has sought fulfillment, but in which You Yourself, when all was said and done, felt unfulfilled. I cannot bear the thought, Lord. I cannot bear the thought. Please return me continually to this old refrain in the fresh empowering of Your Spirit:
Have Thine own Way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.
Have Thine own way, Lord! Have thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is thine!
Touch me and heal me, Saviour divine.
Have Thine own Way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now!
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.
Have Thine own way, Lord, have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway.
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.
Adelaide A. Pollard, 1907
“dear Lord, please be merciful to me… and never leave me to myself” — I most certainly join in that prayer, Allan.
We are sure of His answer to this prayer, Anna, because we’re asking according to His own will.