While praising our Lord during worship service this morning at the Church of the Cove in the Smokies, my thoughts were drawn to an image of a glass container. Not just any glass container, but one that had been freshly washed. The outside of the glass was “spotless” but the inside had not been fully cleaned. Sediment from dirt particles still lined the inside bottom of the container…the hardest place to get to while washing it. Perhaps one of those tall drinking glasses you might use to serve a guest a glass of chilled lemonade or tea on a humid Kentucky day? Some of those tall glasses wont let you dig down deep to clean them and my dishwasher, only a few years old, doesn’t get the glasses truly clean, sometimes leaving deposits of sediment inside.
Thinking about this vessel, I knew the Holy Spirit was telling me to use this as a message in the blog today. Just as much of a message for the writer as for the reader.
Our lives are much like this container. Though useable just like it is, it still requires cleansing and preparation to make it effective for use. Otherwise serving up lemonade or tea to a friend in dirty glass would not only give cause to be ashamed but give the one consuming it more than they asked for or needed. If at first the sediment didn’t break loose and float to the surface, before long it would and one would then be chewing on it. Not pleasing in thought.
Comparing our spiritual lives to the container, we must acknowledge that we require preparation as well. How can one determine if a container is clean? If we look only on the outside we may be fooled because the container could look clean after taking it out of the dishwasher. Sparkling in fact. So clean we use it before closely examining an important aspect of the container….deep down inside. We unknowingly hand the dirty glass to our friend. They drink because they are parched and want to be refreshed, desiring their thirst quenched. Then they notice the sediment floating to the surface upon being used without proper preparation….hence the part about being ashamed by serving a drink in a unclean glass. (Once I served molded cake to a dear friend and didn’t notice it was molded because it was a mint chocolate cake…yes I was ashamed by that).
In the same way we must study to make ourselves approved: 2 Timothy 2:15 tells us to “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth. (NASB)”
You see we are all unclean containers, or vessels when we come to our Jesus. We can wash and rewash our outside and hide the dirt on the inside for a very long time. So much so that we even can fool ourselves for awhile. For when we first come to the master “washer” we become very very clean…..spotless in His sight, without blemish or fault. But after a little while we begin to have dirt re-deposited within. Though that doesn’t mean we become unusable, it does mean we will become ineffective in service for Him. A dirty glass that doesn’t show its spots is still dirty. We wont be thrown away but the glass ( if it were in my household) would be put back on the shelf to be found by someone else or put back in the dishwasher. The Savior however wants to wash us tenderly and lovingly by His hands. He knows just how to dig into those hard-to-reach places that we can’t get to…sometimes because we want to forget they are there. To keep from remembering we may refrain from seeking God through the daily reading of His word. Or return to a mediocre prayer life. Because if we don’t listen for His voice we wont hear Him woo us into bringing those hard-to-reach places to Him for sanctification. Jesus loves our container so much that He desires to make us very clean and keep us clean to be deemed effective for His service. We have to open the cupboard door of our heart first. The process of His preparation may be painful but as the sediment comes to the surface He will free you from a lifetime of sitting in the cupboard waiting-collecting dust.
“Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart”. (2 Timothy 2:21-22 NASB)