Paul’s crisis of the “thorn in the flesh” brought him to the end of himself. He says, “For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.” The crisis had made Paul a beggar at God’s throne, a throne of grace. Christ is committed to emptying you of your own resources even as He was committed to emptying Paul of his.
God emptied Noah by calling him to an enormous task. God emptied Abraham by calling him away from his kindred and his land. He emptied him further by trying him on Mount Moriah. God emptied Jacob by many domestic challenges. God emptied Joseph by the ill treatment he received from his loved ones. God emptied Joshua by calling him to be a successor to Moses. God emptied Solomon by endless attempts for satisfaction in a Christless world. God emptied Jeremiah by calling him to preach to people who would not listen. One by one the prophets and apostles were emptied, and then filled with the power of God. We are the beneficiaries of that power.
Paul was emptied to the point of begging. Have you ever experienced that? Has the Lord ever brought you to the place where you feel like a spiritual beggar and all you can do is pray? Have you ever reached that place where you must stand before the Lord with an outstretched hand and beg Him to give what otherwise you will not have? Have you got to the place where you honestly believe that unless the Lord undertakes for you, you simply cannot continue? God brought Paul there and then told Paul that all he needed was “my grace” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
“Christ can never fill you with Himself until first He empties you of yourself.” —Anonymous