My Obedience Matters
A fruitful life turns away from wrongdoing and gladly follows Christ and His Word.
When it comes to doing the right thing, it’s easy to cut corners for ourselves – and expect 110% from everyone else. We tend to dismiss or rationalize our own shortcomings. In fact, we can convince ourselves that our wrongdoings don’t hurt anyone if they are hidden, as if no one knows.
But God knows. (And others probably know or suspect more than we realize!) In His love for us, God knows that the sin poison inside has a deadly effect on us, on those we care about, and on our relationship with Him – a relationship that He desires to be personal and close. He longs for us to find forgiveness, freedom, and fruitfulness.
“Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use, some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 2:20-21 (ESV)
“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable”
Notice there is a straightforward instruction for us to follow: to cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable. Most of the time, a vessel that needs cleansing needs cleansing most on the inside. The outside of a glass can have a spot or two, but the inside needs to be clean for the contents to be uncontaminated and beneficial.
Though there is just one instruction, there are four beautiful benefits!
“if anyone cleanses himself… he will be a vessel for honorable use”
The vessels of high purpose – those of gold and silver – are crafted for honorable, noble use. Cleansing immediately opens the door to honorable use.
“if anyone cleanses himself… he will be a vessel set apart as holy”
Among the vessels of a great house that may have noble purpose, those set apart as holy are consecrated for God Himself. They are not just clean for honorable use, they are dedicated for the purposes of God!
“if anyone cleanses himself… he will be a vessel useful to the master”
When you think about being useful to the Lord of all the universe, doesn’t your heart skip a beat?! To be useful – to fulfill a fruitful purpose – is to fulfill the intention of your design. To be useful to the Master is to bring joy to the heart of the Designer Himself.
“if anyone cleanses himself… he will be a vessel ready for every good work”
A ready vessel is an available vessel. It is ready for every opportunity to serve the Master. And because the vessel is for honorable use, is set apart as holy, and is useful to the Master, it is ready for every good work. Supremely good work, because the Master Himself – the wielder of the vessel – is supremely good.
APPLY THE WORD
Ask God, “What are the dishonorable things inside my life? Are there attitudes of resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, something else…? Am I harboring unloving, critical, or judgmental thoughts? Is there anything in my life right now that is displeasing to Him?” Actions and words flow from the heart, so let the gracious Great Physician do a heart exam.
Thank God for what He has shown you in your life. Confess the wrong that He revealed and receive His forgiveness and cleansing. Read 1 John 1:9 and thank Him for His gracious promise. Reaffirm your trust in Him, your desire to follow Him, and your readiness to be used by Him!