Purified Gold Vessels
by Sharnessa Shelton

Hey guys and girls! Or ladies and gentlemen! Or whatever you prefer! What I want to share with you is something that I "got" quite a few years ago. It started out when I really began listening to what I had heard pastors speak about many times before: being a vessel for God to work through. I began to truly grasp that concept, and so wanted to be someone He could use.

Shortly after that, I started experiencing what it meant to go through His refining fire. Now, I'm going to give you a little mental picture here: when gold, in its impure form goes through the purification process, it is put through a furnace to the point where it becomes liquid. When this happens, the impurities (also called "dross") that are in the gold rise to the top, and are then able to be scraped off the surface, so you have pure gold!

Now I just gave you that so you could perhaps better picture the process that God desires to take us through, to purify us. So to relate this to us, He allows conflict in our lives, which reflects going through the furnace, so we will then (hopefully) turn to Him in it and learn all He has for us through those tough times. This reflects the impurities floating to the top, and being scraped off. Through those times we become more like Jesus, we develop character, etc, which reflects becoming pure gold.

It says in James 1:2-4, "Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be strong in character and ready for anything."

So, back to the vessel thing, as I began learning and experiencing this personally, it hit me that we should not simply be vessels for Him to work through, but vessels of gold. It's not just about being a vessel, it's about the quality of the vessel.

The next thing that God hit me with blew me away even more! I was reading Revelation, and in verse 21:18 it says, "...the city was pure gold, as clear as glass." And verse 21:21 says, "...the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass." I was like, "WHOOAA!" That hit me like a ton of bricks! Not only are we to be vessels of gold as we understand gold to be, for Him to work through, but we are to be the gold that Revelation describes is in heaven - the purest form - CLEAR gold! I had never heard of that before! We are to not only be vessels of gold for Him to work through, but totally transparent, so that people see HIM, not us.

Now, I'm not trying to challenge you to some lofty, unrealistic goal. You might be thinking, "Yeah, right Sharnessa. What you're talking about here is what is in Heaven. How in the world could we ever get to that place of holiness or purity as humans?!" Well, as long as we're truly giving God our best, that's all He asks. He's not up there expecting us to achieve some unrealistic status. He of everyone knows our capability as humans! But it's all about the process. This whole thing is a process that you'll be going through for the rest of your life. We never "arrive" as humans, we're always learning and growing. But in our walk with God, if we desire to go deeper with Him, He will take us deeper, and we will become more like Jesus.

This is so awesome, because the world needs to see Him working through us, not us. Now that doesn't mean we won't mess up, but we've got a God, a Father, Who's up there ready to pick us up again and get us on our feet. How exciting is that?!?! So I really challenge you to think about all of that, tell God that you want to be used by Him, and be prepared for Him to take you up on it!!