A Clean Vessel
By: Pastor Al Price on September 17, 2013 5:30PM
A Clean Vessel
2 Timothy 2:21
I think everyone who knows me, knows - "I totally love to ride my bike!" Riding provides freedom, allows me to feel like a little boy again, and provides a great way of stress relief. Over the last three years, I have ridden over 16,000 miles, burned a ton of calories, and lost over 75-pounds. I love riding long distances at challenging speeds - there's a great sense of accomplishment when your legs cramp and almost give-out as you master the height of a hill you once couldn't climb. At 52-years of age, I also like beating the younger riders in lengthy distances. But, riding is just flat out miserable when my bike does not cooperate with me by not working properly.
Lately, my schedule has been so busy that I've had time to ride my bike; but, I have not had time to perform the needed daily maintenance to keep my bike running smoothly. Honestly, after riding through several rain storms, my bike was a filthy mess. Trish kept telling me to take a timeout, wash my bike, and lube it properly - but of course, I knew best and just kept riding. Hey, I didn't have time and I could always do it later...so I thought!
This past Saturday, I set out to ride a Century ride. Riding 100-miles is no game and should be taken very seriously - it's nothing to play around with! I got up early and hit the road with hopes of completing the 100-miles in 5 1/2 hours. I usually cruise at 19mph - but on this day (no matter how hard I tried) I couldn't get my bike to go faster than 16mph. The bike seemed to grind and beg for mercy as I pushed her to her limits. This was very odd because its usually my bike pushing me to my limits. My legs ached in pain, my water supply quickly depleted leaving me frustrated. No matter how hard I tried - the bike just could not (or would not) perform. After 50-miles of frustration, I gave up and headed home.
That afternoon, I explained my frustration to Trish and of course she said, "well, did you wash and lube your bike?" Don't you hate it when your wife is right (LOL). I reluctantly went out and washed my bike and sprinkled needed oil on the chain and gearbox. An amazing thing happened...my bike was like new again. My bike obeyed my every command doing whatever I asked of her. The joy of riding quickly returned and I couldn't wait to hit the road again.
I started to wonder if this is how God feels about me from time-to-time? How often does God wish to use me for His purpose and can't because it's been sometime since I walked close to His side? Every Christian needs to spend time daily walking with God. When is the last time you walked close by God's side in prayerful repentance? All of us could use a spiritual-bath from time-to-time. Perhaps God's desire is to use me and you in a very special way - but He can't because we are dirty. Maybe God wishes to stretch us spiritually - but He can't because we may not be where we need to be spiritually?
The Apostle Paul spoke directly to young Timothy and said, "If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (2 Timothy 2:21).
Being painfully honest before God is a very wise thing every one of us to do! After all, we can't hide our true condition from God. I believe every child of God desires to be used by God. If we don't then something is terribly wrong!
Paul tells Timothy that if he wishes to be a vessel unto honor that he needed to "purge himself from these things." I want to know what "these things" are and I want to remove "these things" from my life so God can use me to His fullest potential. If I hold on to "these things" - then, I would be like my bike...dirty and not able to perform as the master wishes. Notice the five "things" Paul asked Timothy to purge himself from:
- Shun Profane and Vain Babbling's (2:17): Honestly, It's not Christlike to use words (too include slang words) that bring dishonor to Jesus Christ. Leave trashy words in the trashcan where they belong. Our words should be fitly spoken - thought out words - Christ-honoring words - words that encourage others to have a solid relationship with Jesus Christ. A dirty mouth and a gossiping tongue are some of the best tools of Satan himself. Paul was right when he said, "They will increase unto more ungodliness."
- Shun Those Who Have Erred From The Faith (2:17-18): Evidently, Hymenaeus and Philetus had started to preach false doctrine by telling the known world at the time that the resurrection had already taken place. Paul clearly gives a warning teaching Timothy to shun false doctrine and those who teach it. Let me emphatically say, "We should do the same!" We are in the last days. Christians need to understand that Satan is extremely wise. He did not just fall off the turnip truck - Satan knows exactly what he is doing. For every true Biblical Doctrine, Satan has that many more false teachers spreading false doctrines. Every Christian should search out and find a good Bible preaching Baptist Church and join it without delay. Shun false Bibles - shun false doctrines - and shun false churches. No Christian can ever be used to their fullest potential until they are a member of one of Gods New Testament Churches.
- Depart From Iniquity (2:19): Iniquity is the very opposite of Godliness. God is holy - just - righteous - without spot or blemish - and perfect. Iniquity is: wickedness, immorality, badness, dishonesty, vile, corrupt, anti-God. As a Child of God who wishes to be a vessel unto God's honor, we should strive daily to rid ourselves of both known and unknown sins in our lives. When we do find ourself in sin, we should keep short accounts with God confessing the sin immediately. But what about sins we do that we don't know they are sins yet? Each time I pray, I ask God to reveal to me any sin in my life that I don't know exist through the power of His Holy Spirit as I read, study, and hear God's Word preached. When God shows it to me, I fall upon my knees and depart from the sins revealed.
- Flee Youthful Lust (2:22): Sometimes we allow things that we want to do to keep us from doing what God has planned for our lives. Don't allow a ballgame, a TV show, a party (etc), keep you from serving God to your fullest potential. I love to ride my bike - but God and the things that are important to God come before my bike. Attaching your heart to youthful lust will greatly hinder you from being fully used by God. The best way to "flee youthful lust" is to "follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." Listen, church membership is so vitally important to your Christian walk. No Christian can every be what God wants them to be until they follow in believers baptism and actively join a New Testament Baptist Church.
- Avoid Foolish and Unlearned Questions (2:23): The best way to avoid foolish and unlearned questions is to study God's Word (2 Timothy 2:15). It amazes me of the number of Christians who have faithfully sat in churches for years upon years that cannot navigate Scripture and teach a simple doctrine or show a lost person how to be saved. A truly saved person is hungry for God's Word - they will study it - they will find a church that teaches and preaches it - and by doing so, they will mark false teachers and be able to avoid them.
To be used by God is a precious gift that we should never take for granted. Sometimes in life (like the experience I had with my bike) we get so busy that we forget where we are spiritually. Are you as close to God as you use to be? Can God use you to your fullest potential in the spiritual shape you're in at this very moment?
It's okay to stop and examine your walk with God on a daily basis. In fact, it's healthy! Praise God we can't lose our Salvation - but maybe, we could use a refreshing spiritual bath and be revived again in the things that are important to God. God wishes to use everyone of His children. He has a plan for your life. Will you seek His face right now and allow God to bring you into His presence? He is waiting for you with open arms!