03 May 2013

Emptied of Yourself to be Filled Up with Christ

Someone who is full of himself needs, not only to be emptied of himself, but to be filled up with Christ; lest seven other demons worse than the first come and set up house in him.

Judas got over himself, alright; yes, he saw to that himself, when he ended his own life in despair.  Not the solution.  Simon Peter, on the other hand, was first of all emptied, and then he was filled up, when he was both humbled and exalted by the Lord.  For the Lord lifts up the lowly and fills the empty with good things, by the preaching of the Gospel to the poor, by proclaiming the Year of Jubilee to those who are under the thumb, and by giving the Kingdom of God to those who have become like little children.

The real problem with being full of yourself, is not that it is tacky, rude, or boorish, but that it is deadly idolatry.  It is a kind of self-cannibalism, really, for your own insatiable appetite for yourself will simply consume you from the inside-out, piece by piece.  The god of yourself can never fill you up; you cannot add an inch or an hour to yourself or your life; you cannot bestow more than you already have, but, instead, you are emptied of everything you were given, by devouring yourself, one bite and one breath at a time.

When the Lord demolishes the idol of yourself, He does so not to shame, embarrass, or humiliate you, but rather to be your God and give you life.  He tears down, in order to build up.  He wounds, in order to heal.  He kills, in order to make alive.  His goal is not to get even or get revenge, nor to teach you a lesson, nor to punish you, but to save you from yourself, for life with Himself.  He is not jealous of you, but for you.

So He does not simply crush your ego, but He recreates you in His Image.  And when He knocks you off your pedestal, He does so in order to bring you into His Kingdom.  For He would not have you make a name for yourself, which could not last, but He names you with His own Name.  He makes you His own child, and gives you what is His.  Thus, He restores you, He makes you brand new, and He brings you to perfection.

The Lord does not "put you in your place," as you deserve for your hubris, but He has taken your place in humility, and emptied Himself, and made Himself nothing, in order to raise you up, to fill you with Himself and His good Spirit, and to give you His own glorious place with the Father.

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