“…to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19
If a child, after having a meal, says to the mother, “Thanks mum for the food but I am not as full as I’d like to be!” How would the mother feel? Typically, a mother would be glad to know that her child has a healthy appetite and would be pleased to give more to that child. That’s because hunger is a good sign of health; lack of appetite may be an indication of poor health. We generally lose appetite when we are sick. That’s why a mother would be happy when her child has a good appetite.
This is also true in spiritual things. Often, the absence of spiritual hunger is a sign of spiritual ill-health. When there is a loss appetite for spiritual things, when the desire for prayer, Bible study and fellowship is lacking, that may be the sign of spiritual sickness.
In the natural, the more you eat the less hungry you are, but it is different with spiritual appetite – the more you eat the hungrier you become. The paradox of the spiritual life is that we’re always reaching for more of the things we already possess! That’s why the more you know God the more you desire to know Him; the greater your experience of His presence the more your quest for it. In fact, you can have as much of God as you want; it is not up to Him, it is up to you. God wants to fill you up and then pour you out!
FULLNESS OF GOD
The text indicates that we can “be filled with all the fullness of God.” As we often find in Scripture, every promise is an indication of what is available; what is possible. Indeed, Paul was praying for the church, that collectively and individually, we would have the “fullness of God.” That’s mind-boggling!
Paul spoke about ‘fullness’ with respect to Christ in various places in his epistles: Ephesians 1:23; 3:19; 4:13; Colossians 1:19 and 2:9. John also wrote about ‘fullness’ in John 1:16. The word ‘fullness’ comes from the Greek word ‘Pleroma.’ It literally means ‘abundance.’ It can also mean “something put in to fill up.” For instance, “The fullness of the earth” means “all the good things with which the earth is filled.” So, to Paul, “fullness” meant the totality of God with all His powers and attributes.
The implication of this is that we can have all of God that a person can have and still be human. If you know the song, The Giver, then you would be familiar with the refrain: “Everything I need He is!” If you have God in you then you have everything you need. As Peter wrote, in Him we can have “all things that pertain to life and godliness.” (2 Peter 1:3).
In Paul’s first prayer in Ephesians Chapter One, he ended by proclaiming that the church is the Body of Christ, “the fullness of Him who fills all in all.” Let’s use the imagery of an ocean, if we take several empty containers to the ocean, remove the cork and allow water to fill them, then each container would be filled with the fullness of the ocean. The content of the ocean is what will be in each container. Let’s assume that the containers are in different sizes: bottle, jerrycan, tank etc., each of them would be filled. Even if all the containers in the city were taken into the ocean, they would all be filled. The ocean is not limited, rather it is the capacity of the container that determines how much it can take. Whatever is in the container would be only a tiny bit of the ocean. In the same way, we cannot contain all of God but we can have as much of God as we can contain.
The more of God we have in our lives, the more we resemble and reflect Him. If we are filled with God then whatever is in God will be in us. God has content that he wants to transfer to us. There are three dimensions of God that a person filled with God would exhibit: wisdom, character, and glory.
One of the major attributes of God is His wisdom. Wisdom is essential to His being. When a person is filled with God then he will have a measure of the wisdom of God. Solomon describes wisdom as ‘the principal thing, therefore get wisdom’ (Proverbs 4:7). He should know because he was a beneficiary of God’s wisdom. He asked for it and was given wisdom (1 Kings 3:9-14). Even Jesus had to increase in wisdom (Luke 2:52). We need wisdom in our dealings, whether in the family, in business and generally in life. Wisdom will help you to avoid traps and errors. A person having divine wisdom will be ahead of others. God freely gives wisdom (Proverbs 2:6; James 1:5).
The second thing that would be evident in our lives is the character of God. If God is in a person then that life will begin to manifest His character. All the moral attributes of God will be evident in that person. In our daily interactions, whatever is inside us will show forth. A person that is full of God will manifest the fruit of the Holy Spirit. “But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self- control. There is no law against these things! (Galatians 5:22-23 NLT). No matter how anointed a person claims to be, if he does not manifest the fruit of the Spirit (character of God) then it is doubtful that he is full of God.
The third evidence of being filled with God is that God’s glory would be evident in such a life. God’s glory has been described simply as all that God is and has. It encompasses God’s presence, power and grace. A person filled with God will carry and manifest God’s presence wherever he goes. God’s presence can’t be hidden. Throughout history people have walked in this reality. They were so full of God that when people encountered them, they could feel the radiance of God’s glory. When they stepped into a place, the atmosphere literally changed because God in a person can’t be hidden. The presence of God is a precursor to His power. A life filled with God will demonstrate the power and grace of God. The gifts of the Spirit are only byproducts of God’s presence.
MAKE ROOM FOR GOD
God wants to live large in us but the challenge is: how much space do we have for Him in our lives? Unfortunately, we are often so filled with other things that we scarcely have room for the fullness God in our lives. We almost always tend to give Him only a small part of us. But in order to be filled with all the fullness of God we need to make adjustments in our lives. We shouldn’t allow anything to occupy the place meant for God in our lives.
That’s why the key to getting filled is getting empty. We need to get rid of anything that is holding us back from the fullness of God working in us. Not only things that are bad but even things that may not be bad in themselves but are taking up too much room in our lives. From time to time we should ask ourselves, what’s really important in this life? The words of Graham Kendrick in the song, “To keep your lovely face” is quite instructive:
To keep your lovely face
Ever before my eyes
This is my prayer
Make it my strong desire
That in my secret heart
No other love competes
No rival throne survives
And I serve only You
The more we are full of God the less we are full of ourselves. Someone succinctly stated it this way: “All of me, none of God; less of me, more of God; none of me, all of God.” The world is yet to see the impact of a life that is completely filled with all the fullness of God! Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from having all of God that you can possibly have in this life. Create more room for God in your life; be assured that whatever you make available to Him, He will surely fill with His fullness.