There are some choruses that are seeping into our common worship that are troubling me a bit. They do not trouble me because I don’t like them because they are sweet, they trouble me because they are advocating something that is not in our Bibles. The phrase is some form of “empty me.” Now the thought is that we want less of ourselves to be visible and more of our Lord. Usually the next phrase has to do with Him filling us, which is very Biblical and very appropriate.
The phrase has bothered me for some time, so I finally took the time to do some research. The term is, of course, used in scripture but usually is a negative. His people in the OT were chastised for coming before Him with empty hands, etc… However, there is nothing – nowhere – about us becoming less in order for Him to become more.
John the Baptist made a statement, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) He was not talking about his person, He was talking about the scope of his ministry. His ministry must become less prominent while the ministry of Jesus must become seen. To make this mean that we need to disappear in our relationship with Him is to misuse the scripture.
As I was pondering this, the Lord spoke sweetly, “I have no space problem.” The Lord told the servants at the wedding to fill the water jars with water, prior to His turning that water into wine. This is the understanding I think we need to reach for. He takes us as we are, full of ourselves, and makes the “best wine” out of us. He does not ask us to eliminate ourselves, but invites us to allow Him to be King in “our” heart. He treasures our being enough to die for us. He never wanted to eliminate us, or “empty ourselves of ourselves,” instead He desires to enrich us and bless us with Himself. The Spirit takes no space because He is spirit. He fills us with Himself while we are full of ourselves. I know that is not possible in the natural world, but in the Spirit it is what happens.There is never an entreaty to “empty” what He desires to love because He takes no space in us yet fills us with the “fullness of God.”
We, of course, desire to allow the transforming of our lives for His glory and that means corporating with Him in eliminating certain thoughts and behaviors. However, He doesn’t do that for us, but asks us to use Him and the power of His word to effect change as needed. Oh yes, you have also discovered with me, that need never ends.
We choose His will – that glorifies Him. Us being empty without a will is not what He is after. I hope some of this helps. We do not need to allow un-Biblical theological concepts to dominate our thinking of ourselves. When we do, we become “religious” but it is no help in becoming truly spiritual.