Monday, July 18, 2016

Preparing the Vessel - Martin Wiles

And no one puts new wine into old wineskins. The old skins would burst from the pressure, spilling the wine and ruing the skin. Matthew 9:17 NLT

If we didn’t prepare the vessel, the contents would spoil.

One year, my wife and I decided we’d make and can jelly. Our landlord had an apple tree loaded with apples he wasn’t going to pick. He invited us to pick as many as we wanted. For hours, we sat on our front porch in the old glider and peeled away.  

Once the peels were eliminated, we boiled the apples, using the juice to make our jelly. But we had to prepare the jar. We didn’t have a canning system, so we boiled the empty jars in a pot of water. Removing them one at a time, we filled them with the prepared apple juice and sealed them. One by one, we heard the tops pop, signifying the seal had secured the contents which would shortly jell into jelly. Had we not prepared the vessel, we would have only had juice, and it would have eventually ruined. 

Putting new wine into old wineskins that had already been stretched from the fermenting process would result in the skin bursting and the wine being lost. But Jesus wasn’t actually teaching how to make wine. He was warning against trying to put legalistic traditions into the truth skins He was re-instituting. A vessel had to be prepared to accept His teachings.

Enjoying the abundant life Jesus offers requires prepared vessels. Preparation begins with a relationship which is initiated through a faith step in God’s direction. Then our vessels have to be nurtured. We don’t automatically grow spiritually. Pouring His Word, prayer, relationships, other spiritual disciplines, and witnessing about His love into the vessel is necessary. 

Preparation also takes place when we remember our vessel is a temple of God’s Spirit. Nothing should enter it that contaminates: addictive substances, unhealthy eating habits, unwise relationships, or focus stealing hobbies. 

Staying away from tempting situations helps us keep our vessels prepared as well. God gives wisdom to know what we’re easily tempted by. 

Acknowledging our weaknesses helps keep us away from situations Satan would easily use to create havoc in our lives. 

Prepare your vessel daily so God can fill it with abundant life. 

Prayer: Father, we dedicate our vessels to You. Fill them properly. 

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