Saturday, April 23, 2011

Divine Depths

“The reason we never enter into the deepest reality of our relationship with God is that we so seldom acknowledge our utter nothingness before him.” (Thomas Merton)

“As important and intriguing as divine depths might be, they defy discovery by the natural means of our minds. He reserves these things for those whose hearts are completely His…for those who take the time to wait before Him. Only in that way can there be intimacy with the Almighty.” (Charles Swindoll)

“(For my determined purpose is) that I may know Him—that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding (the wonders of His person) more strongly and more clearly. And that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection (the power it exerts over believers); and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed (in spirit into His likeness even) to His death.” (Philippians 3:10, AMP)

“But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…and count them but rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.” (Philippians 3:7-8)

“In solitude I get rid of my scaffolding; no friends to talk with, no telephone calls to make, no meetings to attend, no music to entertain, no books to distract, just me—naked, vulnerable, weak, sinful, deprived, broken—nothing. It is this nothingness that I have to face in my solitude, a nothingness so dreadful that everything in me wants to run to my friends, my work, and my distractions so that I can forget my nothingness and make myself believe that I am worth something.” (Henri Nouwen)

“An inner restlessness grows within us when we refuse to get alone and examine our own hearts, including our motives. As our lives begin to pick up the debris that accompanies a lot of activities and involvements, we can train ourselves to go right on, to stay active, to be busy in the Lord’s work. Unless we discipline ourselves to pull back, to get alone for the hard work of self-examination in times of solitude, serenity will remain only a distant dream. How busy we can become…and as a result, how empty! We mouth words, but they mean nothing. We find ourselves trafficking in unlived truths. We fake spirituality.” (Charles Swindoll)

“He patiently waits for us to yield, to quit fighting Him, to allow His plan to run is course, to turn to Him for our security and significance. As He witnesses our doing that, He begins to reveal Himself and His will in greater depth.” (Charles Swindoll)

“The great mystery of God’s compassion is that in his compassion, in his entering with us into the condition of a slave, he reveals himself to us as God…His self-emptying and humiliation are not a step away from his true nature…Rather, in the emptied and humbled Christ we encounter God, we see who God really is, we come to know his true divinity.” (Henri Nouwen)

“Though he was God he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form. And in human form he obediently humbled himself even further by dying a criminal’s death on a cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)

I have been crucified with Christ. I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me. So I live my life in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:19b-20)

As we grow in our trust of Jesus, the Son of God, who made Himself nothing and gave His life for us, we can count everything else loss in order that we might know Him more deeply. As we allow Him to live His risen life in us, He will put our prideful self to death so that we are able to live lives of abundance in these earthly bodies, free from the bondage of sin. As we acknowledge our emptiness, our nothingness, and our brokenness before Him, He will fill us with Himself, making us complete and whole, truly lacking nothing.

Lord, help us to get rid of our scaffolding so that we can examine our hearts and connect with you. Keep us from so being busy with activities and distractions that we miss the solitude we need to see ourselves as you see us and to know you as you are, in the divine depths.

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