Seeking To Be Emptied Of Self

The Bible is filled with amazing promises. One of my favorites is found in Ezekiel 36:22-27 (NKJV):

Ezek. 36:25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols. 26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them."

I long to have that miracle-bringing sprinkling of clean water that will bring cleanness—cleansing from filthiness and idols, and receiving a new heart and new spirit—receiving God's Spirit and walking in His statues, keeping His judgments and doing them. 

How does this take place? Notice the following:

"Some whom God has called out of the world have lent themselves to the service of Satan and have done the same unprincipled works that the men of the world are doing. To bring them to repentance, the Lord chastises them, humbling them in the eyes of the world. But He is merciful. Though His unfaithful people deserve only disgrace and punishment, because they have sinned in the face of great light and opportunities, He continues to bear with them. If they consent to part with their sins, He will cleanse them. Heartfelt repentance and the doing of righteous works bring a return of God’s favor. Having forsaken their evils works, the members of the church will reveal their love for God by manifesting love toward one another. No longer will God permit their enemies to triumph over them. {Ms 95, 1903, par. 15}
All true reformation begins with soul-cleansing. It is by the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the mind through the power of the Holy Spirit that a change is wrought in the life. God’s power alone can change a heart of stone to a heart of flesh and cause the mind to render willing obedience to the commandments of heaven." {Ms 95, 1903, par. 16}

What stands in the way? Self!

How do we get rid of self? Effort? Fasting? Study? None of the above! Notice the following: 

"Christ asks for unreserved consecration, for undivided service. He demands the heart, the mind, the soul, the strength. Outward observances can not take the place of simple faith and entire renunciation of self. But no man can empty himself of self. We can only consent for Christ to accomplish the work. Then the language of the soul will be, “Lord, take my heart; for I can not keep it for Thee. Save me in spite of myself, my weak, unchristianlike self. Mould me, fashion me, raise me into a pure, holy atmosphere, where the rich current of Thy love can flow through my soul.” {ST January 6, 1904, par. 1}

I don't know about you, but I breathe a sigh of relieve when I realize that I cannot empty myself of self—no man can!!!—only Christ can! My part is to consent for him to do that work for me. Praise God, He will take our hearts, save us, and mold and fashion us into the image of Himself. That is good news!!!!

How often is this to take place? Notice the following:

"It is not only at the beginning of the Christian life that this renunciation of self is to be made. At every advance step heavenward it is to be renewed. All our good works are dependent on a power outside of ourselves. Therefore there needs to be a continual reaching out of the heart after God, a continual, earnest, heart-breaking confession of sin, and humbling of the soul before Him. Only by a constant renunciation of self and dependence on Christ can we walk safely. {ST January 6, 1904, par. 2}

So this is to go on constantly, for every advance step will require a new renunciation of self!

If God is so willing, why then do we not have more success? The answer follows:

"There are many who do not make an entire surrender. They do not die to self that Christ may live in them. They adopt His name, they wear His badge, but they are not partakers of His nature. They have not overcome their unholy ambition and their love for the world. They do not take up the cross and follow Christ in the path of self-denial and self-sacrifice. Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they can not enter there. Almost, but not wholly saved, means to be wholly lost." {ST January 6, 1904, par. 3}"

That was almost more information than I needed! Partial surrender is indeed a problem for all of us. I fear we forget that such a complete renunciation of self or surrender is necessary if Christ is going to live in us. 

And so, "almost Christian, yet not fully Christians," they are near heaven, but cannot enter there. "Almost, but not wholly saved, sadly means to be wholly lost!"

Lord, help me to choose to let you empty myself of self that you might fill me with Yourself!