Yet you, Lord, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.” —Isaiah 64:8

Perhaps no analogy best exemplifies the spirit of submission as the molding of clay under the hands of the potter. In this paper, the teaching and practice of submission in the life and ministry of Jesus will be discussed. Submission will encompass several other names: obedience, subordination, allegiance, reverence, trust and self-denial. Submission is at the heart of discipleship. It acknowledges the lordship of Jesus over every aspect of life. The concept of submission involves relinquishing one’s individual rights in favor of another. It is only through complete submission that a follower of Jesus is able to open one’s heart so the Holy Spirit may be received and dwell in it. Partial submission is not an option for one who calls Jesus Lord.

Submission, self-denial, obedience and any other name by which this spiritual discipline is called requires progression. Spiritual formation will be viewed through transformation—from hard clay to a vessel fit for use under the guidance of God, the potter. As clay goes through several steps, so does the individual who yearns for the inner transformation promised by the prophet Ezekiel:

“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.” – Ezekiel 11:19-20

Upon reading this paper, I hope the reader walks away knowing that total submission is indispensable to the Christian walk. The gift to be transformed from within is from God, as he gives the believer a new heart. But the practice of the spiritual discipline of submission puts the believer on the path of making it possible to receive that gift. Submission is not something obtained when someone becomes a Christian or a disciple of Jesus but a lifelong practice that paves the way for the transformation of the individual who is being changed from within—from mere dust to a useful vessel under the hands of the Creator.

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