by Lexi Morris
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
One object in Scripture that never fails to captivate my attention is the idea of vessels. What do you think of when you hear the word “vessel”? For some reason I like to symbolize a vase as a type of vessel. Maybe it's the artistic side of me coming out or the fact that I love to paint and admire pottery. I’m not exactly sure why it grabs my attention so intensely, but it does. To me, there is something so transformative in the process of seeing a physical vessel become filled with something that gives it character.
Could you imagine a world where vessels were not actually used for their original design? I love vases, but I don’t think that I would love them nearly as much if I didn’t fill them with the “pretty” things that compliment its structure. Sure, we can decorate the outside to look pleasing, but that’s not the true purpose of the vessel. A vessel is intended to be used for its specific design. Although all physical vessels are hollow containers, some hold liquids and some hold solid materials. Nevertheless, there is one type that I would like to try to encourage you with today, the surrendered vessel. Obviously, this is not an object you can buy at your nearest shopping center. This is the type of vessel that God invites us to become so that we can be used and set apart for His glory if we will only choose to say “yes.”
Now you may be wondering, what exactly is a surrendered vessel and what’s its purpose? Over the past couple years of my life, Jesus has and is still continuing to teach me how to live surrendered. Oftentimes, I want to know how things will work out, where I will be in five years, and what I will be doing, but as we all know, that is not how God works. He works quite the opposite. My Pastor says it best, “Sign your name at the bottom of a blank piece of paper and let God fill in the details”. Learning to surrender requires our full trust to be placed in the hands of our never-failing God. It is the act of surrendering and signing up for something before we know what the outcome will be, and more times than not, it can be fearful.
Recently, I was listening to a podcast about surrender by Elisabeth Elliot and what she said astounded me.
“There is nothing that is not subject to Christ, except us. He asks us to subject ourselves to Him, but He wants us to do it because we love Him”.
Christ is our Creator, yet He desires our voluntary surrender. I cannot fathom the joy that must fill heaven when a human vessel decides to willingly submit themselves to their Creator? This type of voluntary surrender does not require a fancy, well put together vessel, it solely relies on a willing, empty, and reliant heart. Have you decided to give your whole heart fully to Christ? Have you surrendered the small nooks and crannies that easily become dusted by fear or self-contentment?
In my dorm room at college, there’s a small corner tucked behind some pampas grass that consistently remains dusty because it's covered and unseen. If I didn't make a weekly effort to move the pampas, this corner of my room would always be dusty. (Now, I do have dorm inspections so that plays a huge role, but that’s beside the point). In life, we must make a continual effort to live a life of surrender because ultimately, our surrender is our self-sacrifice. More than our attempts at cleaning our physical rooms, we must allow God to search our hearts as the Psalmist said. “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:” (Psalm 139:23). I often find myself cleaning out through prayer, the deepest parts of my heart just like the dusty corner in my room. My prayer is that we can all learn to consecrate every fiber of our being to Christ because He wants it all. Our deepest desires, our agendas, and our plans. He can be trusted with the unseen corners of our hearts that we can be afraid to surrender.
A couple of weeks ago I had a conversation with someone that I highly respect and the essence of what she said challenged my thinking, “God cannot use what you won't surrender to Him,”. I know deep down that God will only use a surrendered vessel or I probably wouldn’t be writing about this today, but do I really live in that unreserved surrender? The type of surrender that urges me to sacrifice my life as Christ’s vessel, regardless of the price.
When we choose to live in total surrender I believe our lives will resemble this prayer of Betty Scott Stam,
“Lord, I give up all my own plans and purposes, All my own desires and hopes, And accept Thy will for my life. I give myself, my life, my all, Utterly to Thee, to be Thine forever! Fill me and seal me with Thy Holy Spirit. Use me as Thou will, Send me where Thou will, And work out Thy whole will in my life, At any cost, now and forever.”
So today the question I ask is simple, are you fully surrendered as a vessel for Jesus to use? Allow Him to search your heart and in surrender, give it all to Him. Proverbs 3:5-6 - “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him and he shall direct thy paths,”. This is a common Scripture that we could all quote, maybe even backwards. But do we rest in this promise that if we trust Him with all of our hearts, He will direct us? Give Him the dusty pieces of your heart and allow Him to make them new again. True surrender begins when you sacrificially place everything into the hands of our ever-faithful God. He wants to use your life as His surrendered vessel, so will you abandon yourself to Him?