The blessing of empty by Deon Crafford
Philippians 3:3-8 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh— though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also. If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to righteousness under the law, blameless. But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ.
One of the most recent best-sellers in the world is a book by Marie Kondo on decluttering your life. It has spawned a new movement of people Marie Kondo’ing their households and lives, finding comfort in the freedom of letting go of things that just do not have the value once assumed. Anyone who has ever lost a PC or a hard drive, will also attest how the initial shock and anxiety of losing one’s valued documents, are eventually replaced by a strange sense of peace that fuels a clean start. Well maybe that’s just me, but hoarding generally has to come to a point of “no more” and when that happens it is almost as though we’re recharged in energy and purpose.
Paul’s life is very much an example of a decluttering, so masterfully worked into him on the road to Damascus. As he himself attests in Philippians, he had all the credentials and pedigree, everything that set him up for the zealous persecution of these Jesus-freaks that came from the formation of the church. And in a moment God decluttered his life, even taking away his sight temporarily, to prepare him for a divine infilling of the Holy Spirit that would sow the Gospel throughout the world. Paul confirms this in his second letter to Timothy (2:21) when he writes: Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.
The blessing of empty started Paul on a journey of glorious purpose and serves as an encouragement to each one of us. We’re all cluttered in some way or another – often with too many issues, too many things, too many needs, too many worries, too many controls, too many scores to settle, too many comforts to secure. In all the clutter there remains so little space for an infilling of the Spirit, and that leaves us frustrated and disappointed in our relationship with God. We’re living in a world where cluttering is the norm, information overload happens daily, there are so many norms and standards to keep up with, so many preparations to be made for angst-free retirement and so one can go on. We’re tend to clutter our lives with our achievements, our high office positions, or our qualifications. And finally maybe, there is some space for God. Seek therefore God’s face, come into His radiant light and be transformed through empty to full.
Love to all