Focus: Becoming empty
1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NKJV) For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
‘Emptiness’ is a familiar feeling to anyone who is fighting depression or dependency. Loss can be the cause—but some have lived with a sense of ‘lack’ all of their lives, as though there was something left out of the recipe when they were created—and they were just never whole somehow.
Someone who struggles with that sense of loss doesn’t have far to go, if ‘becoming empty’ is the goal. Emptiness may be all you’ve ever known.
But why would anyone want to be empty? What is the benefit of emptiness?
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‘Empty’ is what God wants us to be. If you are already empty—you may be a better candidate to be filled with the power of God than a person who is not empty. In fact, people who are filled with themselves and their own plans might have a pretty hard time knowing God at all—much less finding favor with Him.
There is a story in Matthew chapter 19 about a rich young ruler who came to Jesus wanting to know what he could do to have eternal life. Jesus said, “If you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” The rich man said, “Which ones?” Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and your mother, and You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to Him, “All these things I have done since my youth. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that—he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions (Matthew 19:16-22 paraphrased).
The thing that was standing between this man and his salvation was the fact that he was trusting in his wealth. He preferred having material riches to following Jesus. He held onto what he had, instead of choosing to lay it down. Because of his choice—he was a ‘loser’ on the largest scale. Jesus knew where the rich young ruler’s heart was.
The disciples Jesus called to follow Him from the first had to make some choices, too. We know these men were common, ordinary people who were accustomed to working. We aren’t told that any of the twelve original disciples were rulers—or wealthy. But none of them hesitated when Jesus invited them to follow Him.
So, you can see that a person who doesn’t have much to begin with, may have a heart that is more ready to ‘follow’ than someone who is all caught up in the world and with what they have accumulated.
God isn’t interested in our leadership potential or our bank account. What He wants is people who are lost and broken who want to be made whole by His power.
He wants the ones who are buckling under the load they have to carry and need someone stronger than they are, who will take over and carry their burdens for them.
He wants people who have come to the end of themselves and are ready to start over and do things His way.
He’s looking for people who are empty and want to be filled.
What are you filled with? Is there anything that stands in the way of you and emptiness? What would you not be willing to lay down so that you could truly follow Jesus?
Those are hard questions and there may not be easy answers. But it’s important for you to contemplate what the answers might be.
Jesus portrays Himself as One who stands at the door and knocks. He wants to come into your heart and live there. Are you empty enough to give Him some room?
Declaration: I will find new strength by becoming less, owning less, and doing less—so that He can ‘become more’ in me, ‘own more’ of me, and ‘do more’ of whatever He wants with me…
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.