What Two Vases Taught Me

Dawn Wilson

Dawn Wilson | 04.27.12
Twitter: @HeartChoices


Are you on Twitter? Do you like free stuff? If so, you could win a copy of Mary Kassian and Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ newest book, True Woman 101: Divine Design, when you tweet about True Woman ’12. Details here. 

When I traveled with Life Action Ministries in the 1970s, my life was saturated with thoughts of knowing God, and loving and pleasing Him. After I left the ministry, got married, and children came along, it wasn't that I forgot about the need for revival, but rather that other things seemed more important than constantly "seeking God" at the time.

Wrapped up in busyness for God and family, I allowed my own ideas about life to take precedence over seeking God's face and making sure that He was speaking life into my everyday routines. We all have periods of dryness, but after a while, I realized how desperately thirsty I'd become. I couldn't seem to find a way to quench my deep thirst; I felt I'd always be a "sipper" at the fountain of life.

In God’s Providence, in 2001, I returned to Life Action as a writer and researcher for Revive Our Hearts. A few years ago, as I attended the annual staff “Revival Week”—a time of intense preparation for another year of ministry—I heard these simple words: "Everything flows from the presence of God." These words, spoken by Pastor Bill Elliff, powerfully altered my thinking. I wept for a long, long time, letting the words sink into my soul.

At that time, life was not "flowing" for me. I felt stagnant and shallow, insecure and incompetent. So Pastor Elliff’s words haunted me when I returned home. If everything flows from God's presence, I thought, I need to make sure that’s where I’m living.

I asked myself, How do I get back into God's presence? and heard, “I’ve always been here.”
Then why don’t I sense your presence? "You don't spend time with me."

I'll admit that I spiritually rolled my eyes. Prayer. Bible reading. Meditation. I was doing them all. But then I unpacked what the Spirit was trying to tell me, to teach me.

I was praying about others' requests in emails, on Facebook, and at church; but I wasn't communing with God. I was reading my Bible for facts and for my job, but I wasn't reading with the intention of obeying what God showed me. I was mulling over questions I had about philosophy and apologetics, but I wasn't allowing the Spirit of God to press the Word deep into my soul and give me solid inner strength.

Over time, I realized that seeking the Lord in revival is a process. It doesn't happen overnight, and it’s not once-for-all. But there is a beginning point. David told Solomon, ". . . set your mind and heart to seek the Lord your God" (1 Chron. 22:19).

So I intentionally set my mind and heart to seek God, get into the Word for more than knowledge, and understand what it means to be "in Christ,” to live in His presence. I searched for a visual picture that would help me understand. How could I dwell in God's presence?

A speaker at a women's conference supplied the illustration. Shelly Volkhardt stood on the platform behind a table and filled a small glass with water.

"That represents you, a believer," she said, “a believer filled with the Spirit of God.”

Then she set that cup of water into a larger container and filled the second container until the water overflowed the smaller cup and then continued to the top of the larger container. She explained that the larger container represents Christ Jesus. We, the smaller glass, are "in Christ."

I clearly saw that no matter what comes into my life, it will be filtered through the presence of Christ. Before anything can reach the smaller vase, it must pass through the water surrounding the vase!

Resting in my position in Christ means that I am safe and deeply loved. It’s not a matter of striving to sense His presence, but knowing that He is always there. I simply need to live as though that’s true.

I cannot tell you the relief I've discovered in this. No striving. Just resting and allowing the power of the presence of Christ to flow in my life.

"You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore" (Ps. 16:11, emphasis added).

What does it mean to you to rest in your position in Christ?

Topics: Relationship with God


  1. These words really spoke to me today, " Itís not a matter of striving to sense His presence, but knowing that He is always there. I simply need to live as though thatís true." the perfectionist in me needed those words today.

    Thank you so much! I'm gonna go sit in His presence now, for the pure joy of knowing Him, not to check my Bible reading off my list today.
    posted by Michelle
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 7:00 am
  2. Thank you, I needed to read this today!
    posted by Mayra
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 7:51 am
  3. Wow...He is right here with me right now. I, too, find myself reading the Bible to see what else that I can do that I haven't been doing. I find myself overwhelmed by the "lists" sometimes. I have experience a sort of peace that comes from knowing that Christ IS my life but I still, in some sort of way, try to make it happen. I have a very hard time resting...I can't really explain it but I kind of feel like you know what I'm talking about. I'm constantly asking the Lord to conform me into His image and help me to abide in Him. I'm finding more and more that I need Him but I'm also finding that I really don't know how to access Him...I pray and read the Bible but sometimes I feel like I have no connection. Please keep me in your prayers...the Lord has brought much light to my heart in the Word, I just want to make sure I follow this all the way to the end and His will be accomplished in my life. Jodi C.
    posted by Jodi C.
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 7:58 am
  4. WOW! This so touched me and spoke to me. Reading this at the break of day sets before me this day with this feeling deep in my heart. What will God show me? Where will He lead me in scripture? I cannot wait for my Father to teach me more and bring me closer to Him, if I reach for Him.
    Thank you for blessing this day!
    posted by Beth
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 8:15 am
  5. Thank you. Paragraph 7 hits me right where I'm sitting this morning. Lord, By Your grace I will set my mind and heart to seek You!
    posted by Tracy
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 8:31 am
  6. Thank you! This blessed my soul today. I need to hear that I need to rest in Him, I am running around 'spiritually' what can I do, what can I do?!? It is not about what I do but what He has already done for me. Remember that I am born again and free to rest in His presence. 'Be still and know that I am' May God bless you for sharing with all of us!
    posted by Leeza
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 11:12 am
  7. The words "...reading with the intention of obeying what God showed me," struck me. I do feel closer to God than ever before, but I do think I need to challenge myself at times regarding for what purpose I read His Word. Thank you for bringing this to light.
    posted by Sherry
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 11:33 am
  8. Thank you! I needed this. I'm struggling with something that has really thrown me and feel like I can't concentrate at all when reading the word. I'm scared. No one understands why I can't let this go and move on. This involves whom I have been best friends for 30 yrs., And we have allowed something ridiculous to seperate us. I don't understand how she can shut me out of her life so easily. I have looked up to this christian woman for so long and don't understand how this can happen. Please pray for my friend and I..Thank you.
    posted by Sandra Wyatt
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 11:57 am
  9. Sandra,

    I understand sort of what you are dealing with..I lost both my closest spiritual sister and my spiritual mother in less than a year. The two main spiritual influences in my life are gone. For a little while there, I was so sick in my heart until, through mercy, the Lord let me see that I was leaning too much on them and not on Him...I went through spiritual detox and let me tell you, that is not fun but once you realize that you can make it without them, then you will emotionally and spiritually stronger. I'm not saying that there should not be reconciliation...give it some time...but during this time while you're separated..make sure that your hope is in Jesus and not this friend. I hope this helps. Jodi C.
    posted by Jodi C.
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 1:02 pm
  10. I am praying for you today, Sandra. That's a tough one... but not too hard for our Lord to handle. I agree with Jodi C. I encourage you to discover all the wonderful things you are and have "in Christ" in the Bible. You will discover that He is your dearest friend. No one else comes close.

    In the meantime, with your earthly friend, if there's something you need to ask forgiveness for, by all means do so -- in the right way. (You might want to read Nancy DeMoss's book Choosing Forgiveness, first. Big help!)

    But if your conscience is totally clear, just leave her in God's hands and move on until He brings her into your life again. Express genuine love when you DO see her. Allow her to own her own feelings. Pray that God will work in her heart in the coming days. And get into the Word, asking God what He wants you to obey. Interact with scripture; don't just read it.
    God can use this struggle to draw you to Himself.
    posted by Dawn Wilson
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm
  11. Hello Dawn:
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts in your wonderful post. I so appreciate those two words in the Bible, "in Christ." Yes, we are safe, secure, and deeply loved by God, because we are "in Christ." Eph. 1:3-6 states all the blessings that are ours "in Christ." (chosen, holy, blameless, predestined, adopted!) I couldn't help thinking of one of my very favorite books, "Because He Loves Me" by Elyse Fitzpatrick. She writes: "...if you neglect to focus on God's love for you in Christ, your Christianity will soon be reduced to a program of self-improvement--just one of many methods to help you 'get your act together.' So what does it mean for me to rest in my position in Christ? To remember that when I have a "bad" day, when I am not acting like Jesus, to remember that though I am "more sinful and flawed than I ever dared believed, I am more loved and welcomed that I ever dared hope." (E. Fitzpatrick) All because I am in Christ!

    posted by Arlene
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 1:14 pm
  12. Thank you for elaborating on that, Arlene. I understand exactly what you mean about "self-improvement" agendas. I was the "Self-help Queen! Elyse's words are, as always, truth-to-the-max.

    Studying who and what we are in Christ has been one of the passions of my heart for the past two years. I wrote about our new identity, absolute security, and God-given dignity in Christ (http://bit.ly/IeuWTX) and women say they are transformed as they work through each scripture passage, applying it to their own lives. I recommend that every new believer study this to get grounded right from the start.
    posted by Dawn Wilson
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm
  13. Hi Dawn:
    I checked out your article on our security, identity, and
    God-given dignity in Christ. It is very thorough and I know a young lady who recently accepted the Lord who could benefit from this. I can benefit from it, too, as
    many times I need reminding of who I am in Christ when the enemy wants to whisper his lies. Thanks,
    Dawn, for condensing all these wonderful truths! Have a blessed day!

    Thankful for being "in Christ!"
    posted by Arlene
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm
  14. I'm putting a vase on my dining table right now as a visual reminder to me of what you so beautifully expressed. Thank you.
    posted by Sue
    on Friday, April 27, 2012 at 4:42 pm
  15. Loved this ! I could so relate to paragraph 7 - been there! Thank you for this beautiful illustration.
    posted by Laura
    on Saturday, April 28, 2012 at 3:32 pm
  16. Thank-you, Dawn, for the wonderful reminder the everything flows from the presence of God. I, too, want to live in that place. Do I always? No. But I want to and need to. Bless you!!!!
    posted by Laura
    on Thursday, May 3, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Leave a Comment:

We love hearing from you, and will post your comment as long as it is appropriate, and is written in a tone that is encouraging, edifying, and loving to others. Even then, know that the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts.