This is a year when many will accept a heavenly invitation to move onward and upward to a higher place of living in God, a place where they will experience a far greater degree of being filled with all the fullness of God. It’s time—no more waiting! We’ve seen God preparing us for this all through 2016—which I will share a testimony about later in this article.
Will you be one of those who move onward and upward in 2017? If so, you must know that a key to this fullness is emptiness. In fact, real fullness in God is a kind of “self-empty-God-fullness”. I know that’s a paradox, but the kingdom of God is full of paradoxes.
Paradoxes of the Kingdom
You see, to the rational mind the opposite of a true statement would be a false statement, but in the kingdom of God, the opposite of one profound truth can be another profound truth.
Such profound kingdom truths are not in contention, but they pull against one another in a way that brings balance and helps create a tension to span the two worlds (heaven and earth) in which we conduct our lives.
One of these “profound-truth-kingdom-paradoxes” is that emptiness is a key to fullness. What kind of emptiness? The Bible uses the Greek word kenosis to describe the kind of emptiness the Christian must have. Kenosis is a word that means “self-emptying”. It is used of Jesus in Philippians when it says that He, “made Himself of no reputation” (Philippians 2:7). As Christians, we need this kenosis kind of emptiness because Christ Jesus had it, and if we are going to be like Him, we must realize that as “sons and daughters who serve” we are not above the Master.
What is the “self” from which we are to be emptied? It is not the “born-again self” because that person is a new-creation in Christ with God’s righteousness. The self from which are to be emptied is the “false-self”.
The false-self is composed of and concerned about what it can do (the lust of the flesh), what it can have (the lust of the eyes), and what other people think of it (the pride of life).
It is from this self that we are to be purged. And, even though we yield and surrender, it is God that does all the real work of purging the false-self. We don’t empty ourselves of this false-self by ourselves, through our own human efforts, but we are emptied of the false-self by God, through His Holy Spirit. This is what “self-emptying” means for the Christian.
Kenosis in the Life of Jesus
For Jesus, self-emptying meant emptying Himself of the privileges of His deity to become a man. Although Jesus in His earthly life and ministry was 100% God, He was also 100% man, and He lived and ministered exclusively as a man, never relying on the attributes of His deity for daily life or ministry.
Jesus lived and ministered as a Son that was well-pleasing, a man that was anointed by the Holy Spirit, and someone who could nothing of their own initiative, but was totally dependent on the Father—which is just how you and I get to live and minister now that we are in Him.
Philippians 2:5-9 in The Passion Translation says, “Wasn’t He forever in the form of God, coequal with the Father in every way? Yes, He was; yet He didn’t hold that as His supreme prize. Instead He laid aside His outward glory by reducing Himself to the form of a lowly Servant. He became human—God with us! He humbled Himself and became vulnerable, choosing to be revealed as a man. He listened to the Father and was obedient to everything He heard. He was a perfect example, even in His death—a criminal’s death by crucifixion! Because of that obedience, God exalted Him and multiplied His greatness! He has now been given the greatest of all names!”
Offering God Hospitality
The Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus did not grasp or hoard his divine nature. For Jesus, the character of His divinity on earth was not in power, or glory, or might, but rather in emptiness, humility, obedience, and even death. Jesus realized that the splendor of being the Son of God meant that He would have to become the “Son of Man”—emptying himself of the privileges of being God so that he could become fully human—and, through this self-emptying, Jesus was filled with the Father and anointed by the Spirit.
This means Christianity is not about attaining or grasping for the fullness of God, but it is about a place of inner emptiness being created, a place where you can offer God hospitality.
What Self-Empty-God-Fullness Can Look Like
In one service in 2016, a woman in her forties who had been born without irises in her eyes was brought to me for prayer. There was a grey colored spot where the irises should have been. Her eyes were mostly closed due to light sensitivity. I said within myself, I don’t even know what to pray for this woman, God help me. That prayer was a self-emptying prayer—I couldn’t do anything about it in my own strength anyway. I placed my hand on her eyes and said, “Holy Spirit come with healing and miracles” and then found myself asking, “Lord, give her blue eyes.” Honestly, it felt like someone else praying through me. That prayer was the “self-empty-God-fullness” that I have been describing. Suddenly, I (the false-self) got ahold of myself (the real “in Christ” self) and I apologized to her for not even asking what color eyes she wanted. She said, “Oh, that’s okay, that’s the color that I would have picked.” God didn’t seem to mind my apology because then, suddenly it began to happen, we watched as a beautiful dark blue iris stated forming in her left eye.
The following day we received this message on Facebook from the friend who had brought her to the service, “There are now beautiful dark blue colored eyes that are much more open, which replaced the silver/gray half closed eyes that were sensitive to daylight.”
Yay Jesus! This is the call going out for 2017: All for Jesus, all of Jesus, all to Jesus! Do you accept it?
Nathanael & Michelle
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