Futility and faith are not terms we readily associate with each other. Yet, futility and faith can be close companions. Remember the great judge Samson who lost his god-given-ability to protect God’s people because he wanted to impress a pretty girl (Judges 16:4-22). He spent a good portion of his life blind and in jail, protecting no one, expressing the futility of life.
He is not alone. Throughout the ages, countless men and women have been redeemed by God and have yet squandered years of their lives in spiritual wastelands because they turned their back on God for a brief or protracted moment.
In 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Paul address this very topic of useless or futile Christians.
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,[d] he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
The great house is the kingdom of God. The kingdom is filled two kinds of vessels: honorable and dishonorable, those which hold food, jewelry and beauty and those which hold trash, garbage, and human waste. The analogy of the great house implies the kingdom of God. And Paul refers to the vessels usages and not their inherent qualities. The discussion concerns believers.
Paul mentions the analogy to remind us that simply being in Christendom does not guarantee success. Simply occupying a spot on a pew will not necessarily make us useful. Simply showing up to church does not guarantee spiritual growth, joy, and vitality.
If the believer allows pornography, greed, selfishness, pride, covetousness, or any of the countless manifestations of idolatry to dominate their life, they become a vessel of dishonor. They will not be an encouragement to the body. They will not be a spiritual blessing to their family. They are still very much saved, but they have been sideline.
Instead of glory, health, joy, and energy, they have fear, doubt, anxiety, and depression. They have voluntarily imprisoned themselves into futility far away from their calling, gifting, and identity. Like Sampson, they are simply pushing through life one miserable step at a time.
What do we do when we find ourselves overcome by sin?
We cleanse ourselves. We thoroughly clean all the dirt out. We repent of all our sin. We confess our greed to our wife showing her the receipts she already knew about and the ones from our private credit card. We remove the porn from our computer, our T.V. and our phone. We tell our teacher about the test we cheated on and about all the homework we did not do. We thoroughly repent. We find each and every manifestation of sin and repent of it. We cleanse ourselves from what is dishonorable. And when we repent, we immediately become a vessel of honor.
Samson died a restored man, a cleansed vessel. He prays in Judges 16:28, “O Lord God, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may be avenged on the Philistines for my two eyes.” God restores his strength. Samson then destroys the Temple of Dagon killing more people in day than he had in a lifetime of combat. He immediately was used by God to glorify God by judging the wicked.
I suspect few of us will be called to do something so dramatic and woeful. Yet, we too will experience the return of spiritual strength, joy, and power the moment we repent of our sins. James 4:8 wonderfully promises that if you will,
Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
Repent, turn, cleanse yourself from your sin, and you will become a vessel of honor.
Friends if your spiritual life is stunted, check your heart for sin. The honorable vessel is the vessel that is set apart as holy that is sanctified. If you have not grown in your affections toward God and in your ability to express love to others, check for sin. You most like do not need another Bible study, evangelism program, or mentor. You need holiness. Repent. Cleanse yourself.
Do you feel useless? Do you feel that you have nothing to offer Christ? Do you fell that you have nothing to give to your church body? Check your heart.
In Ephesians 2:10 Christ promises all vessels that they have been saved for good works. We are saved to bear works keeping with repentance. We have been saved to glorify God and to serve the church. If we are not doing good works, if we are not useful for the kingdom, we must check our hearts? We must look into our souls and ask, “Is there any unconfessed sin in my heart?’ Is there anything I need to turn from? We should pray Psalm 139:23-24 and then confess the things God reveals.
Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!
Brothers and sisters, we are all in the house. But we being in Christ does not mean each and every moment is one of ease and obedience. We have to work out our faith with fear and trembling. We have to be active participants. We have to do more than occupy a spot on a pew once a week. We have to strive for holiness by the power of God. We need to be vessels of honor.
What kind of vessel are you?
If you would like to learn about true spiritual life and the Christian Faith, I invite to come worship at Amissville Baptist Church at 10:30AM this Sunday morning!
If you have more questions, please search around the blog, leave a comment, or contact me directly.