Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Detachment: Emptied in Order to be Filled

Detachment is the doorway into the deeper life. The reason we detach from created things is to that we are free us to love God with our whole being.

It should be noted that detachment is not an end in itself. The goal is not asceticism. Rather, we let go of created things to make ourselves empty inside so that the Creator has room to come in and fill us as never before.

God desires that we have “a free, receptive and uplifted spirit, not enchained by anything—neither by what we desire or what we love—a spirit that is ready to let go of everything except what God desires it to have,” notes Johannes Tauler. “Then, were we to own a whole kingdom, we would still remain genuinely poor in spirit with nothing hindering us from receiving God—so long as no temporal thing is the source of our peace and satisfaction. Rather we continually stretch out our hands of desire solely toward the merciful generosity of the pure Good, which is God himself. That alone can bring contentment in our will and our inner depths.” [1]

But if we are willing to empty ourselves, God will certainly fill us! “Empty yourself, so that you can be filled,” exhorts Tauler. “If we are in the state where our depths have been prepared, then, without doubt, God must fill them completely else the heavens would burst and fill the void. Much less does God allow it to remain empty—that would be contrary to his essence and his righteousness.” [2]

Today I am more thirsty for Jesus than I have ever been in my life. Having walked with the Lord for over forty years, I find myself craving him more than I did when I first entered a personal relationship with him.

I am so thirsty that it is painful! But that pain is a good thing—it is precisely such pain that stirs me out of complacency and energizes me to clean house! In reality, it is the Holy Spirit who does the housecleaning. At this point, I am glad to allow the Spirit to turn everything upside down in the process. Let him throw things out at will. Let me be emptied out as never before so I can be filled and might experience “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that [I] may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:18-19).

Will you join me? Will you allow God to detach you and empty you that he might fill you in ways that you never imaged?
1 Johannes Tauler Predigten: Vollständige Ausgabe,ed. Georg Hofmann (Freiburg: Herder, 1961), sermon 5, p. 56. The translation is my own.

2 Ibid., p. 17.

© 2011 Glenn E. Myers

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