Before we can talk about glasses being half full or half empty, we must ensure the glass is clean inside. The inside of the vessel and the cleanliness thereof is more important than the outside, that is, if you want to avoid botulism or the explosive ejection of your stomach’s contents. A vessel dirty on the inside contaminates whatever you put inside it. In order to prevent contamination, one must be diligent in washing the vessel of its previous contents, ensuring that none remains.
I don’t mind sitting at a counter and seeing a chipped cup with scratches and dents placed before me as long as I can look inside it and know it is clean. Sometimes vessels get dinged up. My favorite cup is one my daughters made for me at a shop where you get to pick the shape, then paint it inside and out before they fire it in a kiln. It’s been a few years since they made it, and it has chips and cracks a plenty, but it’s still my favorite cup.
When you strip away the hand prints, brush strokes, and slanted heart at the bottom of the cup, it’s just a cup like any other. However, it is special to me because of who took the time to individualize it and who gave it to me. Because Christ imprinted Himself onto us, and we have received His nature, the Father looks upon us with exceeding joy. Clay is clay until the Potter gets His hands on it and makes something beautiful from it. The most beautiful of vessels begin as mere clay. We all start out the same. How we end is different for everyone.
John 14:23, “Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.”’
If you love Him, you will keep His word. If you keep His word, you will do not as you desire but as He commands. You are His, and because you love Him and keep His word, the Father loves you despite the dings, scratches, imperfections, or eccentricities.
Some of the dings, the self-inflicted wounds, the trauma, and the pain occurred before you knew Him and loved Him, and although they heal over time, and the dings aren’t as pronounced, they’re still there, a reminder of poor choices, bad decisions, and consequences. They also serve to elicit gratitude for what God does in our lives and the transformation that takes place once we surrender to His will.
My grandmother loved buying dented cans. They were cheaper, and we were on a budget, and creamed corn is creamed corn whether the can is dented or not. God doesn’t mind the dents or scratches either, as long as what’s inside is what’s supposed to be inside.
Problems occur when what’s on the label doesn’t match what’s on the inside of the can. It’s frustrating when you’re expecting the aforementioned creamed corn, and you get sliced beets instead. Even if a can is dented, the label must be true. If we say we belong to Him, then His presence in our lives must be evident. The indwelling of Christ must be an ever-present reality so that what’s advertised on the outside is confirmed by what’s on the inside.
God doesn’t mind the dings and scratches as long as you allow Him to thoroughly clean you so that He might fill you. You can be filled with the Spirit or with the flesh. You can be filled with the presence of the One True God or the god of this world. You can be filled with light or darkness. They are binary choices, and there is no in-between.
Those who would creep in and seek to do harm to the children of God may have the outward appearance of being bondservants of Christ, but one look inside, and you’ll know that the inside doesn’t match the outside.
When we treat the presence of God in our lives as the priceless gift that it is, we will be zealous in keeping it pure and undefiled. If His presence is lacking, all we need do is ask, for if we ask, He will give; if we desire the fullness of Him, He will not turn us away.
The ponderous question remains whether we desire the fullness of Him or the things He can give us. Is it the relationship or status you’re searching for? If it’s status, then Christ isn’t your life’s priority, but a means to an end. He is a vehicle that you can use to acquire what you desire.
What this means is that you will never be satisfied in Christ, you will never be satisfied with where He has placed you, and like Korah, the need for more will be constant and vexing. Submitting to authority will always seem unnatural, something to be avoided and despised. You will plot and scheme in order to advance, and the entire exercise will become about you and your rising star rather than Christ and His saving grace.
There are men walking about today who use Jesus as a means to make their earthly dreams come true. Jesus is just a cover, a foil, a name they drop to get instant access to the checkbooks of those they’ve caught in their net. If you’re willing to sell your soul and have no qualms about looking over the adoring audience you’re guiding into the abyss, then the recipe is simple enough, and any determined fool can do it.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea, Jr.