UCAN sharing: Dull or sharp, ignoble or noble
Scripture: 2 Tim. 2:20-22
The precious sons of Zion, Valuable as fine gold, How they are regarded as clay pots,
The work of the hands of the potter! Lam. 4:2
Noble: of an exalted moral or mental character or excellence:
If you were to ask any real chef what is their most valuable possession they would likely say their knives. Chefs are known to be very selective about the tools they use to prepare food. A knife that is dull, rusted and weak is not an appropriate tool to make a five star meal. In the same way God points us to the daily choice of selecting who we belong to. With Christ’s death and resurrection we have the means to be a sharp and tempered tool for his glory or we can be an ordinary instrument of little value. It all hinges on where our hearts are. When we place greater importance on the things of this world then on the love
expressed through God’s desire to make us more like Jesus then that says to God don’t refine me. We want to be left just as are and that is dull or ignoble. But when we daily choose to give our lives to Jesus he leads us to be refined and lose the impurities that keep us from experiencing all the abundance life he has for us. He makes us in to a sharp tool ready to do his will.
No one sets out in life to fail; most people yearn to be successful and gain some level of comfort from that success. Yet what many Christians fail to see when joining the world in pursuing the “good life” is that we forfeit the best life found only when we are totally submitted to God. Take Abram for example, he was well off and comfortable in Ur. He was successful and surrounded by family and friends. It was likely that he enjoyed some level of influence and power but one day God calls him and tells him to “Go”. Just like that Abram had to leave behind everything he knew and enjoyed. Here lies a deep challenge for most Christians; we become too settled in our Babylon. We have allowed roots to set in and have become attached to the things and ways of this world so much so that we are OK with just being so-so for Christ. It isn’t that God doesn’t want us to be comfortable that’s not the issue it is whether we love comfort and the worldly life more than God and doing his purpose for us. Only one person can be the love of our hearts.
When it is the world than God will be able to do little through us because we never yield to his training. The flesh is contrary to God and if we take in the selfish ways of the world then it becomes a losing battle to change for Christ (1 Jn 2:15).
A life lived for God is a dynamically fulfilling journey and full of all that is God but if this is so why do we find it so hard to let go and be made more like Christ? God wants to sharpen and make us honorable before him so that he can use us for his glory. Right here lies the answer. If you re-read that last sentence you see that the focus is on God and who he is. So life is not about us and not about who we are and what we want. Too many of us still long to live here by worldly standards that say we have to do this and have that so that we may be right in the eyes of man. Many Christians still pursue worldly things as a form of identity. Comfort, style and possession are all worldly ideas. The ideas of having something as status or looking in certain way to be consider “in” are all part of the world’s system and honestly are selfish. When we fix our eyes on this life it becomes who we are and it can be so subtle that most of us never see how we give so much of ourselves away.
In the Book Timothy, Paul writes to his spiritual son about living for God. He is encouraging him to walk it out to the end and not get caught up in the things of this world (See 2 Tim. 1:13, 2 Tim. 2:3-4). In others words we all need to decide who we will serve; whether God for his glory or the world. Paul emphasizes this by contrasting those who have abandoned the walk and were spreading false teachings (V.16-18). Note that Paul is not concerned about the truth for he knows God’s word is eternal and this is the key point. Do we live for the momentary pleasures of this life or for the hope of the next in Christ? Moses was in line to be pharaoh yet it says in Heb 11:24-27 that he chose to suffer a life for Christ rather than gain the life of a king here on earth. Moses had his eyes on the greater. As a result God was able to use Moses mightily. Was Moses perfect? No. disobedience cost him the opportunity to enter the Promise Land so God is not looking for perfect people. He is looking for committed people willing to live for Him completely. Then he can begin sharpening them.
Like a knife, the best character we will ever have must be brought out by trials. A knife is sharpen on a stone and we are made best when as we go through trials we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us to repentance. As we repent we lose the things in our person that keeps us from moving in the Spirit. As we move in the Spirit our fellowship with God becomes richer and we not only become more like Christ but desire to be with God all the time. We were created to be honorable things of great value before God. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. Jn 14:12
The key is to realize the need for intimacy with God. We may want to be silver and gold but if we try to do it in our own strength we will fail. Here we must give our lives to God to be used as He sees fit and trust must lead us to follow no matter where he sends us. True obedience comes as we believe in God for his love and we willingly yield to him. A rebellious, doubting heart can’t be sharpened and will not receive the best God for them. Clearly some decisions have to be made.
The first decision a person needs make to become God’s is whether they really want to belong to God completely. There exist many degrees of commitment to God but God makes His standard clear. It must be all of our heart. In the passage a choice is given as to what one’s life will be like, whether for noble purposes or not. We make that choice daily by how we live. If we set our hearts on the kingdom of God then action must follow then we must seek God for the power to do so. This is why God does it this way. He wants to create total dependency on Him so to ensure that we live the fullest life since life is God then if we draw our life from him we get the best life. This is a daily decision to live for Christ that one may live forever in Him. We must pursue God out of love to be in his presence and as we do he changes us for his purposes to be more like Jesus.
Once the first decision is made and is firm we must live by His power. This is seen by two ways: we turn away from the lusts of this world and pursue His righteousness with others of similar heart. If we are to become holy and right for God to use us we can’t keep thinking and living like we did before we must change. Rom. 12:1-2 tells us to give ourselves to God completely, fixing our eyes on Him and this we do because we love him. Then filled with his Spirit we can turn from the way the world lives and allow our minds to be filled with his truth. This brings us closer to him so we can hear his voice and do his perfect will.
Paul tells Timothy to flee the lusts of youth and pursue righteousness, which means to turn from one thing and move toward another. If we are honest all of us can say this is hard to do but Paul qualifies how. He says to find others who have the same intention and seek God together. This is what the church is: a place where anyone who desires to really live for God can do so by sharing life with others who have the same desire. We become the body of Christ.
All of this requires little of us except that we truly believe and love God. God is simply asking that we do so with all of our heart. He knows that anything less will result in us missing the best. Stop and meditate on what is God is offering. Ask yourself: Are you settling for just good? Do you believe that a life given to serving God is the fullest and highest life lived? If you don’t believe this completely why? What else in life can truly fulfill you? Do you wish to be a sharp tool for God or a dull tool? The choice is yours. Be blessed.
Song: Broken Vessels (Amazing Grace) Hillsong