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JFH Devotionals by J.M. Farro

Noble Vessels

In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. - 2 Timothy 2:20-21 NIV

In these verses, the apostle Paul is urging us to become the kind of believers that God can use for his highest purposes. Paul says that those most useful to the Lord are those who "cleanse" themselves from things that do not honor God. I've noticed a pattern developing in my own life that has illustrated this principle clearly. It seems that whenever the Lord has brought me up to a higher level of service, it has often been after I've "cleansed" myself of a questionable practice, behavior or association. For example, I had read the books of a certain novelist for many years, and I enjoyed them immensely. But the last time I bought one and began reading it, I felt convicted. I prayed about it, but got no clear direction from the Lord. Then I made what was a very tough decision for me. I threw the book in the garbage. I'd like to say that I felt good afterwards, but the truth is that I felt awful. Some weeks later, the Lord opened a wonderful door of opportunity for me, and when He did, He let me know that it was partly because I threw that book away. He knew what a sacrifice it was for me, and He honored me for it.

So what are some of the things that God might call us to "cleanse" ourselves from? Various forms of entertainment, and relationships are just two areas that may be involved. Think about the TV, movies, books, magazines, video games, and music that you expose yourself to. Ask yourself--does it honor God or dishonor Him? Be honest with yourself and with God. For instance, is there any music you listen to that might be considered "objectionable"? Does it lift you up or bring you down? Does it make you feel closer to God or further away from Him? I listened to secular music for decades, and I enjoyed it very much. Eventually, I made the decision to listen only to Christian music. You think it's hard to give up secular music if you're a teenager? Try doing it after you've listened to it for decades, as I have. Was it tough? Yes. Was it worth it? Yes! Jesus said, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God." (Luke 9:62) When I'm tempted to look back longingly at some of the things I've given up, I resist that urge because I know that God is not pleased with that kind of attitude. The Lord has even led me to discontinue some longtime friendships that were hindering my walk with Him. And every time I obeyed, God made the separation far easier than I ever anticipated. Don't settle for less than God's best in your life, but be prepared to do whatever it takes to become a "noble vessel" who is "useful to the Master." Discover for yourself that God means it when He says, "Those who honor Me, I will honor." (1 Samuel 2:30)

Prayer: Lord, don't let me miss out on Your highest purposes for my life. Give me the desire and the grace I need to cleanse myself of all that would hinder me from receiving Your best. Let Your Spirit convict me when I'm out of Your will, and help me to respond promptly in obedience. Thank You for the honors I'll receive as a result!

- J. M. Farro


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