Do you want to be a vessel that the Lord can use? He uses vessels of gold and silver - vessels of honour - for His glory, they are set apart (sanctified) for special use. If you want to be used by the Lord, you need to be a clean vessel.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
I used to deal with severe depression, and in the worst of the battles I turned to drinking (which never helped); then when I wanted to be used by God, He could not use me until I became a clean vessel!
How do we become clean vessels, according to the Word of God?
1) Salvation cleanses us from our sinful past:
Ezekiel 36:25-27 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
For the believer:
2) How to cleanse your heart (be clean on the inside).
Confess that you have sinned against the Lord, and forsake (repent of) that sin.
Psalms 51:2-4 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Psalms 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Confess here means to agree with God about what He said regarding my sin. When I truly repent and acknowledge my sin to the Lord, He will forgive me and cleanse me from it.
Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
3) How to cleanse your conduct (be clean on the outside).
Study and apply the Word of God, memorize it, meditate on it.
Psalms 119:9 Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.
Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Regardless of your past, cleansing is available. The Lord will only use clean vessels for His honour.
Written/Preached October 3rd/06