But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honour and some for dishonour.
Therefore if anyone cleanses himself from the latter, he will be a vessel for honour, sanctified and useful for the Master, prepared for every good work.
[2 Timothy 2:20-21 NKJV]
Many sing or talk about being a vessel of honour, but scripture is quite specific; it is a vessel for honour. You could say that I am splitting hairs here, but in looking at several different translations, we see ‘to’, ‘unto’ and ‘for’ honour.
The difference is a subtle one, but significant nonetheless. A vessel is merely a container; it may look beautiful or badly fashioned, but it is defined by what it contains. A teapot is just a jug unless it holds tea; but you may also use it for coffee, in which case it becomes a coffee-pot. To re-use the pot for tea, it must be thoroughly cleaned out.
To become cleansed to become a vessel for honour, we must first Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. [James 4:8 NKJV] The Lord does the cleansing but we must “draw near to” Him to let that happen.
Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and another for dishonour? [Romans 9:21 NKJV]
The honour contained in our vessel must be Christ and Him alone. Anything else is dishonour. Jesus is the name we honour.
If we do only what we are inclined to do, some of us would do nothing for ever and ever! There are unemployables in the spiritual domain, spiritually decrepit people, who refuse to do anything unless they are supernaturally inspired. The proof that we are rightly related to God is that we do our best whether we feel inspired or not.