The Spiritual Practice of Emptying

Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus,

who, though He was in the form of God,

did not regard equality with God

as something to be exploited,

but He emptied Himself

taking the form of a slave,

being born in human likeness. 

And being found in human form,

He humbled Himself

and became obedient to the point of death—

even death on a cross. 

                                                                 Philippians 2

The practice of emptying myself – kenosis – is what I believe Jesus meant when He said, “I am the way, I am the truth, I am the life. No one comes to the Father but through me.” The way of Jesus is the way of emptying. 

For me to grasp the significance of this, I have to realize the perspective from which Jesus is emptying Himself. As God, Jesus is emptying Himself of his place as God. God, who is life itself, submits even to death. 

Jesus says,

         Follow me.

Jesus says,

         This is the way. Walk in it. 

Jesus says, 

         Whoever follows me must take up their cross. 

Jesus says, 

         Come and die. 

I consider my thought life as the material for practicing emptying. Most of my thoughts are centered around image management, nurturing the image I have created that I believe will make me look best in the eyes of another. In order to come to the place of who I truly am, who God created me to be, I must let go of each of these. Release. Empty. Kenosis. Over and over and over. I must intentionally choose a path that is different than the one I have been walking. 

I recognize that each time I come to the time of prayer, that each time my thoughts run rampant, is the opportunity to practice emptying. Let go of each one into the stillness that God invites me to that acknowledges that God is God, and I am not. As God, Jesus released this. As a fallen human being who grasps after being God by creating my own image of myself, I must let go, I must empty, I must simply return to that space of being God-with-me.

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