I love my coffee. Well, love may be too strong a word, but I do take great pleasure in that cup (or cups) of coffee. The aroma satisfies me almost as much as the taste. I have actually become quite the coffee snob, because not just any coffee will do. It has to be bold yet smooth, so there are only certain brands I will buy. Though I’ve tried to break the habit, I am a regular at my local coffee shop. I enjoy it so much that many days I’ll repeat the pleasure in the afternoon!
Then there is the cup or mug. Ah yes, the vessel I choose is of much importance to me as well. I don’t get quite the same enjoyment out of the coffee if that mug doesn’t fit quite right in my hand, like it was made just for me. It has to keep my coffee good and hot as well. And of course it has to be clean. Nothing can ruin a good cup of coffee quicker than a dirty vessel. After savoring the aroma for a moment or two you raise the mug to your lips, anticipating that wonderful first taste. You take a drink and….BLECH! You get a mouthful of all these little bits of…you don’t know what and not sure you want to. Down the drain it goes (along with rinsing your mouth out). You start over….with a clean vessel this time.
Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary gives four definitions for the word vessel, a noun. For my purpose here, I am only using the first two. “1: a container (as a barrel, bottle, bowl or cup) for holding something 2: A person held to be the recipient of a quality (as grace).”
In scripture we find that we are referred to as vessels. 2 Timothy 2:21 says: “Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from these things (see previous verses), he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.” NASB. In Acts 9:15, God was speaking to the prophet Ananias concerning Saul (who was soon after named Paul) saying: …”Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel.” KJV.
You may be thinking; “Me? A vessel God wants to use? Really?” Yes! But we need to do our part. Just like we don’t want to drink our java out of a dirty vessel…it taints it, steals our enjoyment of it….we have to be clean as well so God can use us. Then others, as well as ourselves, can enjoy being a vessel used by God. “So how do I do that?” you ask. I’m glad you asked!
In John 15:3 Jesus is speaking to his disciples. He says, “Now you are clean through the word which I have spoken to you.” Psalm 119:9 poses the question; “How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.” God’s word cleanses us. It speaks to our spirit and opens our eyes to our own sin so that we may repent, or turn from it keeping ourselves clean.
We can also be made clean through prayer. In the Psalms David cried out to God in prayer many times. In chapter 19, verse 12, he said to God; “Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults.” In chapter 51 verse 2, he said; “Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” Finally, in 1 John1:9 we are told; “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
Life gets hard, we are all aware of that. Honestly, at times it seems like everything around us keeps dumping in on us and dirtying our vessel. To remain clean, we need to keep talking to God in prayer and reading His word.
I once head someone ask the question; “Which dog are you feeding, the white one or the black one? Because the one you feed is the one that’s going to grow.” We need to continually be feeding on God’s word, so it’s His statutes and precepts we will know and obey….not what the world says is right. Our difficult circumstance may not change, but we can still make sure that we are feeding the right dog….and regularly cleaning our vessel. That way, no matter what we may be going through, others will savor that wonderful aroma (of Christ) when we are around them (see 2 Corinthians 2:14-15).
So pour that cup of java and enjoy while you’re cleansing your “vessel” through prayer and God’s word!
Cleansing with you Sweet Sisters,