"There is something in this universe which is the very opposite of God; it is the self. The activity of the self is the source of all the evil nature as well as all the evil deeds of man. On the other hand, the loss of the selfhood in the soul increases the purity of the soul! In fact, the soul's purity is increased in exact proportion to the loss of self!
As long as you employ your self-nature in any way, some faults will also continue to exist in you. But after you depart from your selfhood, no faults can exist, and all is purity and innocence.
It was the entrance of the self, which came into the soul as a result of the fall, that established a difference between the soul and God.
How can two things so opposite as the soul and God ever be united? How can the purity of God and the impurity of man be made one? How can the simplicity (or singleness) of God and the multiplicity (endless fickleness) of man ever melt into one element?
Certainly, much more is required than just the efforts that you can make.
What, then, is necessary for union to be achieved? A move on the part of Almighty God Himself. This alone can ever accomplish union.
For two things to become one, the two must have similar natures. For instance, the impurity of dirt cannot be united with the purity of gold. Fire has to be introduced to destroy the dross and leave the gold pure. This is why God sends a fire to the earth (it is called His Wisdom) to destroy all that is impure in you. Nothing can resist the power of that fire. It consumes everything. His Wisdom burns away all the impurities in a man for one purpose: to leave him fit for divine union."
In the modern church today, you hear a lot of talk about being ________ for God and doing _________ for God. God wants you to go here, think this way, etc. You need to read your Bible, you need to go to church, you need to love others, you need to pray more. You know what's so crazy about all of this stuff? It seems so pious and righteous until you really step back and think about what you're saying. Did anyone even notice that every single thing I mentioned above has to do with...YOU! Now, of course we want it to sound like the main focus is God; He's the one we're doing and being and thinking (etc.) for, right? But when you boil it all down, it's actually about US! We sort of get into this almost unconscious mindset where God is like an invalid, bedridden and not really all that personal, unable to really do much. But we know He died on the cross for us way back in the day, so out of gratitude we humor Him and try our best to walk and talk the way He wants us to; to do the things we think He would do "if He was here Himself"/"if He was able".
A lot of us don't really want to admit this, but if we take a step back and look at modern Christianity, there is a lot of stuff that really has nothing to do with God, but has a whole lot to do with US! Oh sure, we might slap God's name or picture on the things we're doing, but as far as what's really going on, it's about what we do, what we say, what we think, what we want, and especially how it all makes us feel. We've got to wake up!
Acts 17:25: "And He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He Himself gives all men life and breath and everything else."
The Christian life is NOT about serving God/doing things for God! The foundation of the Christian life is simply this: "For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it." - Luke 9:24
If you are doing something for God right now...STOP! God is not served with human hands! Anything of value that goes on with us is God Himself working through us, not us working for Him. Some might shrug that statement off with a "well, it's basically the same thing; let's not get caught up on the wording." Pardon me, but the difference between doing something for God and God working through you is wider and deeper than the Grand Canyon! The things that we are doing for God have to do with us; there's no way around this. God working through us implies that He is the one acting; He is the one willing. He is the one who is everything. It implies that our own life, our self, has taken a backseat, and has submitted instead to God's desire.
The real Christian life has absolutely nothing to do with us, and everything to do with God Himself. I love how Jean Guyon put it: "His Wisdom burns away all the impurities in a man for one purpose: to leave him fit for divine union." This is God's grand desire for your life; that by simply yielding to His will, your own would fade away; that there would be but one will, one set of passions and dreams and desires between the two of you. Let all else in this life come and go as it may, but this window to God's heart--this lifestyle of losing your own life in order to really find it--will forever be at the core of what it means to be Christian.