Earlier this month I had the privilege of running at our Summit League Conference Indoor Track meet up in Fargo, ND. Although I have been running for about ten years now (AH!), I still find myself becoming so anxious for races--so to say the least, I was rather anxious this weekend. My race wasn’t until 12 and we had time in the morning to relax before heading over to the track. I found myself skimming the pages after my normal quiet time study of Revelation to get a little more encouragement (not that Revelation isn’t an encouraging book and all hehe!). Usually I go to Psalms because I can relate to the Psalmist's cries to God when he is “being pursued by his enemies” only for me it’s North Dakota Bison haha. But instead of going there, I for some reason had this desire to find a passage on the topic of us as God’s instruments. I vaguely recalled a passage about it but I wasn’t sure. I hopped onto Biblegateway, an online Bible search engine, and looked up the word “instrument.” I skimmed through all of the “hits” not finding the phrasing I was thinking of until my eyes landed on 2 Timothy 2:20-22—this is what it says in NIV:
“20In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for noble purposes and some for ignoble. 21If a man cleanses himself from the latter, he will be an instrument for noble purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.
22Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
I found this passage incredibly encouraging as I began to prepare for my race because I felt like no matter our gifts or abilities, our true desire should be to be an “instrument for noble purposes.” Not only are we used for noble purposes but it says we can be made holy and useful for our Master. Is that not awesome?
An instrument that I have always loved and adored is the violin. In relation to this passage, I picture a dusty, antique violin sitting in the corner of a room. It has been masterfully designed but remains on the shelf because it, itself, cannot play---it requires a violinist to carefully restore, tune and play in order for beautiful music to be made. We are like that violin: we are unable to do anything good but through forgiveness from our Lord Jesus Christ, we can be transformed from an old dusty violin, that is nothing but mere wood with cat gut, into a beautiful instrument--an instrument that can be useful for our Master and prepared to do any good work. The ESV version uses “vessel” instead of instrument---which again has such a wonderful picture of our identity in Christ when we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and flee from the evil desires of our youth. I encourage you to look at this passage of scripture and read it more in context because it is truly a treasure-chest-of-a passage in how to live a Christ-centered life—a life that can take polar opposites of running a mile in a track meet, a violin and an instrument described in the Bible and for it all to relate to one another. I also challenge you to permeate the scripture you read into your life and pursue a continual focus on our Lord Jesus Christ today!