What is a
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
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.
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.
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."
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.
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:
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.
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
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
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."