IconAthan A friend recently wrote that “our essence is our emptiness.” Our true selves are refined into gold by the purifying fire of life and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. We are made to be divine chalices, human receptacles made in the image of the Triune God for the living God. God made us for himself and he made us to hold within ourselves his glory. Through the purifying power of God he makes room for himself. “It is not I who lives but Christ in me.”

The Western Church tended to reduce salvation to the forgiveness of sin. The East understood that God made us for himself and the fall removed us from God. Salvation restores us to union with God in Christ (Calvin saw this too) and brings about a refining process that brings us into the divine.

We must be emptied of ourselves (not our humanity or uniqueness but our false, independent selves) so we can be filled to the fullness with God. We are designed by him for him. Our true home is in him and we know that when he is living within us in grace and power.

But it is one thing to hear these words and say yes to them and quite another to experience them. How often do you taste and see that the Lord is good? How often is divine love your purest delight? How often have you stopped running and gazed out at the glory of your God in creation and been struck with awe that this God lives in you?

There are moments when we break through the veil, or draw near to God in some way in our innermost being. We are emptied enough of ourselves that what we truly prize more than anything else is God himself, not God’s gifts. These are the times of truest and deepest joy. Then, and only then, will you realize that you need nothing else.