becoming a useable vessel
What is a Vessel?

A vessel is an object designed for the sole purpose of holding, or containing, something. The vessel is not made already containing something, it is made empty. If a vessel contains something already it needs to be emptied in order to be used for something else. If contamination is an issue the inside of the vessel must be cleaned in order not to mix residue of the prior contents into the new contents.

The Lord wants us to be vessels. In Acts 9:15 God refers to Paul as a "chosen vessel" unto Him, to bear His name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel. We, too, are chosen vessels designed to be used and filled by God.

God chooses us to be His vessels, yet He will never force us to be used. Our God loves us so much that He gave us the thing called choice. We can even choose whether or not to believe in Him. . . the One who made us! We can choose to allow Him to use us. Once you make the decision to be used by God, then hang on because you are in for the ride of your life.

As already mentioned, a vessel is designed to contain something. As Godís vessels we are designed to contain God. We are to fill ourselves with Him. We are to read our Bibles and fill ourselves with the Word. We are to have communion with God and learn how to have His heart and His mind. It takes time. It may take many years to become filled with God. If we are seeking Him then He will use us along the way, even before we come close to being full of Him!

It is necessary that we be clean and holy vessels. As a dirty bowl will contaminate foods placed in it, we will contaminate any good thing God wants to use us for if we are not clean and holy. All our thoughts, opinions, feelings, past hurts, attitudes, and everything that has happened to us throughout our lives become part and parcel of our actions and words. All those things make us unique individuals. The problem with that is we risk adding part of ourselves to the pure and holy Word of God.

Getting Clean

In order to purify ourselves it is necessary to go through the process known as dying-to-self. In Luke 9:23-25 Jesus said,
"And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away?"

When I used to read that I thought it literally meant losing my life or being killed because of my belief in Jesus. Then last year the Lord gave me a new understanding of "losing my life."

Throughout my life I developed patterns. Some of those patterns were habits, some were attitudes, some were ways of reacting to things that happened around me. Some of those patterns could have been considered "survival instincts" of a sort. The way I was treated by people and the situations I encountered all contributed to the patterns I developed. If I felt I needed something and was not receiving it I manufactured ways to try to get what I needed.

One thing in particular I worked hard on developing all my life was a way to feel loved and accepted. Last year that particular problem exploded in my face. I had to face it eyeball to eyeball and decide whether I was going to let it remain in my life or allow God to rip it out of my tight grasp. It was very painful letting go of that and of the other things the Lord has brought to my attention. I was afraid, I was confused, I was unsure of what would happen to me. I was forced to change the way I related to people. My life, as I knew it, needed to change.

It was necessary for me to let go of those things in order to be used by God. I had to get rid of the "me" in me and put God in me. In order to be a pure, clean, and holy vessel I had to "die-to-self." I had to fill myself with God so that my opinions would be Godís opinions and my thoughts would be Godís thoughts. As long as I hung on to my own then they would get mixed in and contaminate what God would have me do.

By taking up your cross, it means you need to be prepared to nail ANY aspect of your life to the cross if God says it is necessary. It could be attitudes, it could be friendships, it could be your possessions, it could be your life as you know it now. It will not be easy. It is only the work done at the cross that enables us to free ourselves of those things that hinder us.

The only way we can be clean and pure in Godís eyes is by the shedding of blood. Hebrews 9:19-22 tells how Moses purified the things of God:
"For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.  Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission."

Jesus shed His blood so we could be purified and acceptable. However, we have to make the choice to accept what He did. We have to make the choice to nail unacceptable things to the cross. We have to make the choice of letting go of those things in the dying-to-self process. Donít despair, though. There is an "up" side to dying-to-self! God always replaces the things that are removed with even more wonderful things!

I had been praying that I be a clean and pure vessel. I wanted to be able to hear the Lordís voice and to be able to be absolutely positive that what I heard had no part of me mixed in it. I didnít want to add one jot or tittle that wasnít directly from the Lord. (In case you donít know, those are the dots over the letters "i" and "j" and the horizontal line on the letter "t.")
Being a Bowl

I had imagined myself as some sort of liquid-carrying vessel when I prayed to become a vessel. After all, one of the things I would be carrying would be the living water, right? The type of vessel I pictured myself as being was taller than wide with a long, narrow neck and an opening that was just barely wider than the neck. There was a handle along the neck and a pour spout on the lip. There, can you picture the graceful vessel I imagined?

That picture has since flown out the window. On January 5th of this year the Lord told me I was to be a bowl. He said He would pour out wisdom, love, understanding, and knowledge. I was to be ready and waiting and I was to catch them and fill myself with them. A BOWL? Thatís odd. What happened to my lovely pitcher?

A bowl is widest at the top. A bowl is designed for ease of filling and for stirring ingredients together. If you needed to, you could toss ingredients into a bowl. It would be nearly impossible to toss things into a pitcher without knocking it over or missing the mouth entirely. If there was stirring to be done the bowl would accommodate the spoon. The pitcher would only be able to take in liquids and would have to be shaken to be mixed. So, if there were things to be caught and stirred together, then a bowl would be the better choice between the two.

Filling yourself, as Godís vessel, with the Word, with God, and with whatever other things He would direct is important. However, the more important thing is what comes out of the vessel. Imagine, if you will, filling the bowl full to overflowing with the Holy Spirit, with scripture, with Living Water, with love, with kindness, with faith, with all the things that God would have you fill it with. When you move the bowl it sloshes over the edges. Ahhhhhhh, thatís it! Thatís why a bowl and not a pitcher!
Love is the Key

There is one reason that God created us. That reason is why we have the desire to serve Him. That reason is LOVE. We serve Him because we love Him.

In order to become that pure and holy vessel we have to see people through His eyes and love them with his heart. It is all about love and it is all about people. Everything God has done and will do is all about people. He created this earth for people. He sent Jesus to suffer and die for people. He wants us to be used by Him for people. Thus the greatest commandments are, according to Jesus in Mark 12:30-31,
"And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."

The things that the Lord fills us with are not for our own use. They are meant to be poured out on people. It is imperative that we have love. Without love we are useless. Without love we can do nothing for the Lord. Without love the things we do are for the wrong reasons. There has to be love!

God knows the difficulties we have in loving others. Humanly, it is impossible to love anyone as much as we love ourselves. God gives us that love. Ask for it. Remind yourself that God loves everyone with the same wonderful unconditional love with which He loves you. Renew and refresh yourself with continuous prayer and continuous praise. Bathe yourself in Godís love.
The Time is Now

Seek Him. Seek what He has for you. Seek what He would have you do. He is waiting for you to make that decision and take that step. You have a part in His divine plan. It is time for you to step into your role.

Chapter 12 of 1Corinthians tells us we are all members of the body of Christ. A body has many parts and all parts are necessary. God has created us to be parts of the same body. He has given all of us different gifts and talents to be used as a part of that body. We are all to be doing the things God has for us so that we benefit the rest of the body. If anyone chooses not to seek the job God has for them then the rest of the body suffers for the lack. It is like a puzzle with pieces missing. Imagine how wonderful and complete everything would be if everyone sought Godís will in their lives!

Be bold. Step forward and volunteer to be in Godís army. You will never regret it. One person makes a difference. You are that one person. Fill yourself with Him. If you are full of Him then people will automatically see Him in you. You wonít even be aware of the huge impact your obedience has on other people. You may never know, this side of heaven.

I pray that you seek what God has for you and that you become the vessel described in 2Timothy 2:21,
". . . a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work."

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