Cracked Vessels in Need of Mending
Unless you are a student of a religious faith you probably don’t know that it is impossible for you to become perfect. Through birth, you were imperfect no matter how great you appeared outwardly. When I say that we are cracked vessels in need of mending… that statement applies to everyone.
Being imperfect does not mean that we are imperfect in the same way, capacity, likeness, mannerisms; either physically, mentally, or spiritually. Some are quite good at certain things and poor at others. Different people have different strengths and weaknesses. To God, we are all so uniquely and wonderfully made… just not perfect.
Why would God set the standard so high based upon a mark of perfection? The simple answer is that our Creator is perfect in every way and in a class of pure holiness. God wants us to be like Him even though being holy is an impossible mark for us to reach. He knows what He put in us at birth and would love to see us do our best. Most people will not even strive to accomplish half of what might be possible. Even in stating this fact, becoming perfect while in human form is where the challenge comes into play. Living in a dominion that is imperfect means that we are products of the environment in which we live. This causes us to stray from perfection. Even if we desired to do all things perfect we would still be subject to the influences of others.
On top of environmental influences, our own thoughts carry large influences over our imperfections. You might not act upon all your wild and sinful thoughts that come through the mind but, so as a man thinks, he or she becomes a product of their thoughts. That would mean that imperfection lives in you making you less than perfect internally. Again, perfection is such a high mark and none of us are capable of reaching it.
A possible outcome of reaching for a mark that is essentially unreachable could impact negatively causing doubt, fear, insecurity, resentfulness, inadequacies, and the like. If you know you can’t win even before you start the race then why start? Many do not want to try something when they know they cannot achieve it. But where would you set the bar for your children? Would you ask them to reach 75%, 50%, or 25% of what is possible? What would be an acceptable ratio to consider?
Just as setting the bar too high can be intimidating, setting it too low is just as damaging. Perhaps it is best to set the bar as high as possible and allow the child to strive to get as far as they can knowing that you would reward them regardless just for giving it their best. Might God do the same for His children? He sets the bar far ahead of us and cheers us on to reach it. If we do not reach perfection, which He knows we can’t, then God does not punish us when in our hearts we gave it a valiant effort.
There are a lot of layers to this statement about us being cracked vessels. God says, “Be ye holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16 God knows that it is not by our might that we become holy but by what He does for us that makes us acceptable. What we cannot do alone God can do through us. In essence, we are born in corruption but once we turn to God and lean upon what He does for us… then we become what God desires because holiness lives in us. Thereby God sees what is in us rather than how we were born in iniquities. Even though you were born imperfect, perfection comes to live in you so you are not judged by what is impossible for you to do, but by what God does for you once you call upon Him.
“What is impossible with man is possible with God.” Luke 18:27 Essentially that means what is impossible for us to do alone is made possible through God in us. It is He who touches our hearts to help us reach the mark that He sets for us. Humanly, we take it as far as possible and God provides a bridge to fill the gap for us once we fall short. I love that image of two sets of footprints in the sand that turns into one set of footprints. When we fall short our Savior is willing to carry us on His back the rest of the way. It is not what we can or can’t do but God wants us to do our best and then rely upon Him to achieve the remainder through us.
I chose the analogy of a cracked vessel for this message because our mortal bodies are literally a vessel that houses our immortal soul and spirit while we sojourn through this leg of our eternal journey. Even though the vessel may be cracked it serves the divine purpose that God is working on in your soul. The exact station of which you were born on earth has great significance in what is required to make you whole and complete, not lacking in anything. What better way to perfect an immortal soul than to allow it to face the many challenges of living in an imperfect environment? It is as the statement about iron-sharpening iron. It takes a heavy tool to achieve a heavy job.
I love how apostle James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ phrased it.
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do.” James 1: 2–8 –NIV-
He continued on to state in verse 12 a further clarification that is worth noting:
“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love Him.”
Even though we are living in these cracked vessels… God is working on us and perfecting us for His heavenly kingdom. Blessed are those who withstand the test because they will receive the crown of glory that the Lord promises to all who love Him and abide by His precepts. We might be a cracked vessel but it is similar to those hard-shelled black walnuts, once you crack the shell what a great treasure you will find inside. Just knowing that our Maker cares enough about us to allow us to go through the trials and tribulations of this life assures us that we are being made into perfection… That gives us our entry ticket into a place that is reserved for perfection only. Selah!