By Shirley Lee
Vessel as defined by Cambridge dictionary:
a. a large boat or a ship
b. a person who has a particular quality or who is used for a particular purpose
Like a ship, a vessel consists of an outside and inside.
What’s on the outside?
The outside of the ship or the frame is made of steel these days. It is to strengthen the frame and prevent it from sinking. We all know that a ship that is made of plastic or wood will not stand any strong waves, storms or even the sun for long.
As a Christian, the Bible provided us guides on how we can be a better Vessel for God.
In Ephesians 6:14-17,
14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
|Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14)|
and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; (Ephesians 6:15)
above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. (Ephesians 6:16)
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17)
|1. Stand – a ship that cannot float on water, cannot serve its purpose. Let’s not be a ‘paralyzed Christian’. If we keep sitting down and do nothing, we are as good as nothing too. |
2. Strengthen ourselves for any challenges. As a Christian, it is important that we carry the truth everywhere we go, whenever we speak. The truth which is God’s word is the only thing that will strengthen our ‘waist’. John 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth”
Psalms 119:160 The entirety of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous judgment endures forever.
Some of you would know that I have a lower back injury where I require chiropractor treatment every week. The pain can be uncomfortable and sometimes excruciating and because of that, the chiro would need to regularly align my lower back to ensure it does not misalign from my spine.
The problem with most of us is that, we often find the truth to be too heavy for our waist. Hence we try to shed some of it because it’s easier to walk but we forget, God’s word is the one that will keep us aligned with God. How do we expect to walk close with God if we pick and choose which commandments or instructions that are easier to do or listen to?
Every runner knows that having a good shoe is very important to them for balance, confidence and safety. But runners run so often, so the sole of the shoes wears out quickly. Hence a good pair of shoes are always the key important item for a runner. A ship, too, needs to have good maintenance system for the wheel of the ship as their steering mechanism.
Likewise, in order for us to stand firm and be able to speak confidently about the gospel and to share this good news to people around us, it is important that we keep ourselves grounded with the gospel which Christ came to this earth to share with us. Christ’s death on the cross gave us the assurance that we can be saved if we follow and obey His commandments. To know that we can be saved, gives us the peace we as human have always longed for. John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
A fully equipped ship without an anchor will drift away due to the current or wind. Hence the anchor prevents it from endangering passengers of the ship or things around such as icebergs or another ship. When an anchor is dropped into the sea, no one can actually see what the anchor does but they know it fixes the ship to a certain position.
As Christians, without our faith, we will be easily drifted away by the challenges in our lives and if that is not bad enough, it can be fatal to our souls. We cannot see ‘faith’ but from the way we are grounded in our lives, we will know if we are anchored.
Heb 11:1 & 3 “1Now faith is the [a]substance of things hoped for, the [b]evidence of things not seen 3 By faith we understand that the [c]worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.”
The last but not least important part of a proper ship is that the steel that is used to fit into the frame of the ship must be fitted in. A ‘botak’ ship without its body is a display item.
Do we want to just become a ‘display’ item to God? Or do we find it important to be fitted into the frame of God? May I suggest that the ‘steel’ and the ‘frame’ that we need to complete us as a Christian (outwardly) is the Word of God.
What’s inside a vessel?
Typically when you go into a ship (a cruise ship for example), you will see different kinds of amenities, decorations, paintings etc. Different ship have different designs and colour but all of them have something in common. They are not empty.
Being a good Vessel for God on the outer side sometimes is much easier but we are required to also be a good Vessel for God on the inner side. We need to fill our inside with equally important qualities too. Let us all consider having the following as our ‘fillings’ of our vessel.
Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”
Ephesians 6:18 “…with all prayer and supplication praying at all seasons in the Spirit, and watching thereunto in all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” What other ‘fillings’ can you think of that will help each other to grow as a Christian? What will our answer be if we are being asked whether we have been a good Vessel for God?