It’s no longer business as usual for the world and certainly not for the Body of Christ. The days of sitting by the sidelines are coming to an end. Our focus on the blog this year will be on some of the battles we will have to contend with this decade as Christians.
We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.2nd Corinthians 4:7 NLT
The world makes a big fuss about appearances. But looks can be deceiving. A vessel made of common material like wood or clay can carry priceless treasure within while one made of something more delicate like porcelain has nothing but fluff inside.
The battle of vessels begins with our recognition and understanding of what it means for us to be vessels.
Vessels are containers. They serve the purpose of holding something on behalf of another. As Christians, we are meant to carry God’s agenda for our workplaces not our own. What is God’s agenda for your career or business? What would He like done in your industry and what part are you meant to play in making it happen? What is your function as a vessel?
Specific qualities a vessel has make it ideal to hold certain things and not others. For instance, you wouldn’t try to put water in a basket. You’d use a container that doesn’t allow liquids to seep through like a bottle. In the same way, the way God has configured each of us makes us uniquely capable of carrying certain aspects of His nature more than others.
Our configuration is based on our purpose. If you know your purpose, then what you carry and why you are the way you are will make more sense to you. I’m not talking about a grandiose theory of how you can change the world. I mean detailed understanding.
The word of the LORD came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”Jeremiah 1:5 NIV
God knew who Jeremiah was right down to his specific purpose on earth. Before God formed you in your mother’s womb, He knew you. Who did He know you as? How does God define you as a vessel?
If you don’t know your identity in God, then you’ll end up as an imposter. Trading what you can’t afford to lose for what is already in your possession but you just don’t know it. This is how Adam and Eve lost their place in Eden and Esau lost his inheritance.
Another critical aspect of our battle strategy as vessels is understanding how to dress for battle. What is your aesthetic as a vessel? How should you be dressed as God’s vessel in the workplace?
When Pharaoh sent for Joseph, he shaved and changed his clothes before he left the dungeon for the palace. A critical part of Esther’s preparation to meet the king involved her appearance. These two vessels would go on to change the trajectory of the nations they were in for the glory of God.
Dressing is symbolic of mindsets. To change your dressing is to change your mindset. Joseph’s prison mindset would have been a drawback to his service in the palace. When God is shifting you from one position to another, from one role to the next, you have to be clear what is going with you and what needs to be left behind. The battle of vessels could easily be lost because you carried an old mindset into a new season.
Dressing is also literal. Even though our primary preoccupation as believers shouldn’t be appearances, we must acknowledge that this is a key tool the world uses and make it work for us. You wouldn’t go to a foreign country and minister to them in your mother tongue, which they don’t understand. Similarly, dressing is a form of non-verbal communication in the workplace. Jesus calls us to be shrewd as serpents. We must know the intricacies of the industries we are positioned it and align accordingly in so far as it serves our function there. There are rooms you will never enter into and have a voice in looking like you just rolled out of bed.
Lastly, we need to know our value as vessels. Where does your value come from as a vessel? Fake it till you make it doesn’t count here.
Our gifts and strengths are pivotal in our function as vessels. However, we must never enthrone them at the expense of God’s agenda. It’s easy to grow your business or career in the name of God but for your own benefit; where, if you were honest with yourself, what you’re doing has little to do with God.
Our failures also have their role to play in our significance as vessels. Rather than trying to hide our imperfections and shortcomings, we must see their value when submitted to God. The places of our weakness are in fact the avenues for God’s glory to shine in and through our lives.
This is how we win the battle of vessels. By allowing the truth of God’s word to illuminate our hearts with understanding on what it means to be His vessels and embracing our fragility as a strength that God can use to the glory and honour of His name.