“It is easier to suffer than it is to feel empty.”
This quote by Beth Moore has haunted me for days.
Our souls, when made to feel empty, will act like a vacuum, sucking up anything and everything to fill the void. In our brokenness, we will repeatedly choose pain, even self-inflicting pain, if it means we do not have to sit in emptiness. This is where one can begin to unpack the complexities of addiction, and understand what creates an atmosphere ripe for bondage and slavery.
Someone does not climb out of bed as a young child and consciously decided they will spend the rest of their life enslaved to drugs, work, food, pornography, approval, sex, material things, status and power. As, as toxic, poisonous, and all-consuming as addictions can be, they are mere symptoms of a darkness much deeper.
Where addiction reigns, emptiness abounds.
In my day-to-day life, I feel like one of the greatest struggles I, myself face, and one of the greatest struggles I watch others face, is loneliness, emptiness, and worthlessness.
And it will come as no surprise to anyone that these struggles are absolutely rampant in churches and in Jesus followers.
In Galatians 5, we read that it is FOR FREEDOM that we have been SET FREE. I don’t know about y’all, but I see a whole mess of a world handcuffed and in captivity. We sing about freedom, we preach about freedom, we write about freedom, but how many people actually are tasting freedom? The type of freedom no man could EVER grant another. The type of freedom no constitution could ever withhold.
Sweet Mama Beth goes on to talk about the biggest challenge slaves who are set free will face. Slaves who are set free will struggle with learning how to live as if they are actually free. Unfortunately, our own nation’s history can testify to the mountainous climb free slaves had to face.
Here’s the deal friends, when our ransom was paid for on the cross, when our Jesus paid it all….WE WERE SET FREE!
When we call on the name of Jesus, immediately our chains are gone and God transfers to US, you and I, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. But here is the rub, here is where the break-down happens, here is where Satan insists on twisting and perverting the truth; WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO LIVE FREELY. We so identify with the enslavement our souls trusted for so long; we are so trained to our default; we are so comfortable with the way it has always been, that we consciously or subconsciously continue to live in captivity. Isaiah 30:12 says, “they have put their trust in oppression!” The very thing that zaps our bones of freedom and life, is they very thing we end up trusting. And when we continue to trust our oppression, we continue to be empty…empty even unto death.
Like Taylor Swift, I am so breaking up with emptiness, and we are never-ever getting back together.
I am so sad and heart-broken that our churches, our communities, our homes are just full of empty, hurting people who are constantly in despair.
1 Peter 1:17 says, “knowing you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your empty way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
Redemption isn’t just about saving us from our sin and eternal destruction. Jesus redeemed us from an empty life. God gave His only Son, not only to pave a way for us to spend eternity in the presence of the Almighty, but He redeemed us so that He might fill our emptiness in the HERE AND NOW! On THIS side of glory.
Notice also, where the emptiness came from in 1 Peter. The forefathers.
Let’s just stop here and resolve to do this differently. Can we promise ourselves to NOT be “forefathers” who pass down emptiness to the next generation? Can we offer that amazing gift to our children? I want my children to witness in me a fight to diminish emptiness and restore life. Not only in my home but in our churches? Can we rise up and say, we refuse to sit in the pews of churches where emptiness is the spiritual inheritance? We have to stop eating the stale diet of emptiness and feast on freedom and life.
Jesus tenderly spoke to hot-mess of a crowd, the Pharisees; the spiritual giants of the time. Men who were content to fill their emptiness with rules, laws and formulas.
“The thief (Satan) comes only to steal, kill and destroy. I came so that they may have life and have it abundantly!”
If he hasn’t yet, he will try and steal, kill and destroy your life also.
“I came.” Really this statement in an of itself, reminds us of the amazing-ness of the incarnation.
“I came so that they may have life and have it abundantly!”
Y’all. We can’t ever get back together with emptiness. Because as we attempt to fill our emptiness with anything but Jesus, we are destroying our marriages, our families, our homes, our schools, our churches and our communities. Emptiness is flat out robbing us of an abundant, overflowing, joyous kind of life.
Don’t be confused, our lack of emptiness does not mean life will be easy, or that it will feel good, or that it will be pain-free, stress-free, or sorrow-free. Our lack of emptiness means we get to do this thing called life less inhabited by us and MORE inhabited by Jesus. Our lack of emptiness means we get to die, so that Jesus can more freely live within us.
And that’s the only thing worth living for.
Here is to destroying emptiness and learning how to live freely!