Every Born-again, Spirit-filled Christian is unique in Jesus Christ. God, being infinitely unique, created man in His own image. And, being made in the image of God, you are continually becoming an expression in this life of that uniqueness!
There’s not another single person on Earth that has your particular insight, personality or characteristics. Your gifts and talents that He has given you are for your benefit and for the edification of His Body.
It’s amusing sometimes to listen to certain preachers talk about God replacing a Christian with another if that particular Christian doesn’t fulfill God’s purposes (or ministry) during his or her lifetime. Not so! No one can “replace” you or “fulfill” that which God has called YOU to do! You’re it! You’re irreplaceable in God’s eyes! And He loves you with an everlasting love that only a heavenly Father can give. And He means for those gifts and talents to be an expression of His love to everyone you meet!
The trouble is … it’s PERSONAL!
That means that His love expressed through an individual is hampered many times because of the very characteristics and personality of that person which God has created. It’s called corruption, carnality, the flesh or just simply … sin!
Paul expressed it best:
“For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.” (Romans 7:14-18)
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.” (Romans 7:19-23)
“O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24)
This “tug-of-war” between our flesh and the Spirit of God has caused us, as individuals, much consternation and heartache. For some individuals, the “failures” of walking in the Spirit have even caused them to doubt their very salvation.
It’s not our intention to go into a debate about “Once Saved, Always Saved”; but, it is our intention to maybe a shed a little light on this very PERSONAL struggle that every Christian faces.
But, before we do, be assured of one thing:
“Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” (1Thessalonians 5:24)
“And … sanctify you wholly; and … your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Thessalonians 5:23)
There’s a lifelong process that takes place in the walk of a believer. It sets him apart from the rest of the world … even from the rest of Christianity. His brothers and sisters cannot fulfill the walk that he must fulfill; nor can he fulfill their walk in Christ. It’s PERSONAL!
And because it’s personal, God’s dealings with and for His children are as unique as He is. What one Christian has to learn at any particular time will not be what another Christian must learn. That is why we are admonished to not “judge” one another during this process.
“But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” (Romans 14:10)
There is, however, room to use scripture as we speak the truth in love to correct, admonish and encourage one another.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” (2Timothy 3:16-17)
However, getting back to the subject of “lees”. In the Old Testament, there is a shadow of a New Testament “process” that is worth a quick study:
“Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.’ (Jeremiah 48:11)
Here it speaks of Moab being “at ease from his youth” and “hath settled on his lees”. Unfortunately, this is reminiscent of the Laodicean church in the Book of Revelation that said within their heart:
“… I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;” (Revelation 3:17)
But Jesus admonished them that they knew not that they were …
“… wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:” (Revelation 3:17)
You see, the “lees” refer to the dregs of “dead” yeast particles in the process of making wine. After the wine in a vessel has sat for a period of time, the wine would be “poured” from one vessel into another vessel leaving the impure “dregs” behind. This process changes the flavor of the wine for the better and refines it’s color and overall appearance.
What God was saying to Moab was that he had not “submitted” to the refining process of being “emptied from vessel to vessel” (i.e. from God’s chastening to chastening). Nor had he “gone into captivity”; or, in other words, borne the “hardships” and “tribulations” which God had allowed to come into his life. Moab preferred the “ease” of his life over the “process” of the Lord which would have “refined” his “wine” from the “dregs” (or carnal ways) of his life. He had become “settled” in his ways, rather than seeking the “refinement” of the Lord.
Therefore, Moab’s “taste remained in him, and his scent (was) not changed.”! He hadn’t experienced any refinement … any change … or any growth!
For a Christian, this is unacceptable! God desires us to allow Him to continually “pour us from vessel to vessel” …
“… that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Titus 2:14)
Now, only God knows what “dregs” are in our heart. And ONLY He can remove them. This entails a lifetime of being a co-laborer with God. He initiates … we respond!
We don’t have to worry about whether it’s by “works” or by “grace”. It’s really a mixture of both. As one theologian voiced it:
“The gift that God gives us, becomes the task that He sets before us”.
How we respond to that gift, determines the outcome of the task. And the more we allow the Holy Ghost to pour us from vessel to vessel, the better equipped we will become to respond to that gift!
So, the next time you find yourself in a crisis or painful situation that requires a heartfelt decision on your part, remember that it is most likely the Lord trying to “pour out” your vessel into a better one and leave your impure dregs behind!
Or, as the scriptures declare,
“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?” (Hebrews 12:5-7)
“Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.” (Hebrews 12:11)
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