Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Empty Me: Specified

It's been a while since I have listened to the local christian radio station, but the other day, everyone else was on commercials or music I wasn't in the mood for, so I flipped to that station where I heard Chris Sligh's "Empty me" http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0e0WEkxj58.  I've actually always liked that song, but this time I had sort of a funny thought...

In Christian music there are tons of songs with the theme of 'empty me of me so that I can be filled with you(God)'.  While this is not a biblical untruth, I can't help but wonder if it's focus has become distorted.  When I look around at all of the individuals God has made, I am in wonder at the uniqueness of us all!  Each one of us with our unique strengths and weaknesses and quirks and ways that we are bent that drive away and pull closer the people around us...it truly is amazing!  So why would God want us to focus on ridding ourselves of ourselves, when He made us each so uniquely and wonderfully?  

I think I liked Chris Sligh's version so much because he specifies the parts of himself that he would like to be rid of, such as selfishness, vain ambition, and the poison of my pride; which if I read into it means, not all of his ambition and pride, just the poisonous parts, kind of like the difference between good and bad cholesterol.  He then adds "and any foolish thing my heart runs holds to" and then he sings "Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you". 

So in hearing that song and because of some of the things I am working through, it dawned on me that this prayer of 'empty me' may have the wrong focus or even a lack of focus...or just misguided focus.  Have you ever prayed feverishly that God would remove (for example) your ambitious nature only to find yourself ever more ambitious?  Or have you asked Him to help you to stop being so outspoken only to find yourself blurting out things even more than usual?  This is when we need to ask God if we are praying the wrong prayer.  Perhaps it is a test of your will, but what if He's trying to tell you something else? 

God made each of us individually, uniquely and specially as well as with a purpose in mind.  Part of who we are is determined by things that God knew far in advance would come our way and affect the way we deal with life and all that goes with it.  He also made us with certain qualities, talents and characteristics that are useful for your life's calling.  We might consider them to be bad qualities, but perhaps when you look at them from a God's eye view, you can see how those things are valuable. 

Some of the things that you perceive to be bad things, God has placed in you for a reason and they need to be held in place... but perhaps refined, honed and re-focused.  Leaders, for example can be head strong, ambitious, stubborn, and outspoken.  All of those qualities can be negative and are too often discouraged, but given the right focus and aim, those qualities can be quite useful in leadership. 

Relationships are able to succeed and withstand severe storms when two opposite extremes cooperate with each other and work to see the benefits of both sides.  For example, the marriage of a very frugal spender to a very lavish spender.  One is overly responsible and saves every penny while the other is overly generous to themselves and others even overspending and going into the red.  If the two can meet in the middle and see both the benefits of having savings in the bank while being able to bless others without going overboard, you will find a very successful couple (at least financially...).

My point in all this is that maybe we should stop asking God to empty ourselves of ourselves and instead ask that He hone and sharpen the characteristics, qualities, skills and talents that He himself gave us so that they may be perfected for His good use.  Ask Him specifically to empty us of the poison of our pride, the selfishness inside, and whatever has become tainted and bitter.  We need to stop concentrating on the negative aspects of our personalities and focus instead on the areas He wants us to work on, not the things we think we ought to work on.  Stop allowing guilt to creep in with regards to these things that make up who you are.  Allow change, don't force it, be pliable and teachable instead of hard and deaf.

As always readers, I preach to myself here as well.  I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter as well!   



  1. “Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with you.” This sounds contrite and spiritual, but is it biblical? http://www.discerningtruth.org/showthread.php?235-Empty-Myself-To-Be-Filled

    1. What a great post you reference Mr. Anonymous :) I'd say it ties in quite nicely to mine! Since I wrote this 3 years ago, I've come to understand even more that Grace gives us the ability to chose for ourselves to stand on all that Christ gave us, enabling us to make the most of every opportunity. As your post said there is no need for emptying, but instead to continually pour ourselves into the word of God and our relationship with and confidence in Christ and His finished work! We are the answer to the problems because of Christ in us! Hallelujah! :)


I'd love to hear what you think, so drop me a line! You can also e-mail me at adrielleroyale@hotmail.com :)

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