Martha’s last two posts really struck my heart and I’ve been mulling them over. Martha said, “When we lust to be more than ordinary clay vessels, we are opening the door to madness.” What hit me like a thunderbolt in that statement is that a vessel does not create the substance it was designed to carry; a vessel is filled because it cannot fill itself. God is ever and always the Initiator, and when I move outside of His initiating, I’m a vessel in trouble and at odds with my divine purpose.
You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
Psalm 16:11 NASB
“You will make known to me…” God never intended for me to bushwhack my way through this life, yet that’s how I approach almost everything. My posts are living chronicles of the many ways to stumble and fall as a disciple, but that’s because every time the Spirit anoints a word or brings a correction, I tend to reach for my tools. When He adjusts my path, I grab a pickax and start hacking out the new trail. My whole life is a picture of this assumptive initiation.
A Vessel with Delusions of Grandeur
There’s more than one way to lust to be more than an ordinary clay vessel. Here’s a fine example of my particular brand. We’re all familiar with the passage in Ephesians about putting on the armor of God.
Put on the full armor of God so that you can stand against the tactics of the Devil. For our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the world powers of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavens. This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.
Ephesians 6:11-17 HCSB
Even though the directive to STAND is given three times in this one passage, for years I believed that I was called to FIGHT. Assumptive initiation activated! God says, “Stand.” But I heard, “God needs my help in fighting the forces of evil; that’s why He gave me armor. So I must fight!” (Insert Howard Dean scream here – ha!) I didn’t want to be just a simple vessel standing in the victory of Jesus. I wanted to be much more than that. I took initiative, and heard what I wanted to hear.
In fact, it is so deeply ingrained in me to take initiative, that I believe almost all of my chastening and calls to repentance have rested on this one enormous root of the Tree of Good and Evil. My actions may differ, but the fact that I stepped out ahead of the move of the Spirit in each case makes an undeniable through-line of my taking initiative. Of my “independence.”
“You will make known to me the path of life.” My path is already set. My days are numbered by God. He doesn’t need my help, or my thoughts, or my warnings, or my opinions. He’s GOD. And He made me human, a simple vessel of clay that He formed with love and purpose. When I am able to rest in that immovable truth, content to wait for God’s initiating and infilling, then I find myself in the easy flow of the Holy Spirit. And the path of life opens up before me, no assembly required.