Words to Live by is a weekly devotional email of Scriptures and quotes that highlight and expound upon our Union with Christ. If you’d like to receive devotionals like the one below, please subscribe using this link.
Wednesday March 3, 2021
Can anything be simpler?
“Through the self-sufficiency we inherited from the Fall, we instinctively regard ourselves as something very much more than containers. ‘Vessels’ the Bible calls us; it was the first description by the Ascended Christ of the most dynamic Christian of history, the Apostle Paul: ‘He is a chosen vessel unto Me’: just a vessel, that was all. Were all the dynamism, the wisdom, the revelations, the passionate love, the self-sacrifice then attributes of the vessel, or of Him whom it contained? And Paul himself went on to call us all ‘earthen vessels.’ Not even tin cans, but nearer to crack-pots! Humbling, self-emptying, an offense to any man not enlightened to facts by the Spirit of God. But let us get it plain, and without equivocation. If God is the All, and we are merely the means of His Self-manifestation is it not a fact that we must be just containers? ‘Christ is all and in all.’ ‘Temple’ is another like metaphor, for a temple has no reason for existence except to house its god: ‘Ye are the temples of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them.’
The point then is that a vessel or temple has only one function (and you will remember that we humans have a misconception of the function of the human self). Activity is not the function of a vessel, but receptivity. Here we reach right down to the roots. Receptivity is the simplest, most child-like human function. In Bible terms, it is not works, but faith. But what we have to re-learn is that receptivity is not a function, but the function. All other functions are by-products. The whole of life is a parable of this. Is not everything some form of the self-giving of God? And do we not totally live by what we receive–food, air, the floor boards beneath our feet, the clothes on our backs? And in most cases something has died to give us life. Life is surely based on receptivity, and the Bible word for receptivity is faith. Can anything be simpler? How wonderfully God has made us: to live, spiritually and materially, by exercising a capacity which is as near as possible to doing nothing–just receiving. Not reaching up to drag things down, but things poured upon us in such abundance that we just open our mouths and they are filled: and the gift of gifts we receive is Himself.”
By Norman Grubb