Colossians 3:16-17 (NLT)
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
Everyone is full of something. No really it’s true. The human heart and person is a vessel and conduit of the things that are allowed to live within us. We go through life gathering from experience and letting those things we encounter mold and shape us. These are the things that determine who we are and what we allow to exist in our life. Like a sponge once dry and empty full of holes once placed in liquid it is full of whatever it touches, we also absorb those things around us that define us as people. It is not until that liquid is released that the sponge can once again take in more fluids. Human beings have a capacity. God knows our heart. He knows the parameters of its walls and intensity of its beating. The enemy wants to fill our heart with less than God’s Best for our life and call it desire. But true desire can only be satisfied when complete lacking no good thing. This is God’s Desire for us today. He is willing to apply the pressure needed to empty our life of all the lesser things until we are ready to take in His Best, His Glory, His Goodness and True Perfection.
2 Corinthians 4:5-10 (NLT)
For God, who said, “Let there be light in the darkness,” has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ. We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves. We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
Our heart is a vessel capable of carrying the Holy Spirit or the very essence of the Living God – Jesus Christ. Think about that. The place inside of us that we so freely give to so many other things. It needs to be constantly emptied and refilled. Think about a glass used for drinking water. We take the glass and put water in it. The water is pure, clean and refreshing. But when we fill the glass maybe we find something floating in the water and now it must be poured out. Once the glass is cleaned, we refill it and use it again. Or perhaps, the water reveals a cup still soapy. I think of this as religion that stifles our relationship with Christ making our water just as distasteful to a dry and thirsty world. They want the Love of God and the Grace of Jesus but the religion of people have made it distasteful.
God has given us a light to shine in the darkness. It is the Message imprinted in our heart of God’s Great Love. The vessel that we carry it in is our hearts. If our heart is not clean, it will convolute the message that we are trying to portray. If our heart is too hard, religion will suffocate the Spirit from working in our life. So what happens? We are pressed, not crushed. Persecuted, not abandoned. Struck down, but never destroyed. God takes the hardships, trials and troubles of life to empty us of self and fill us with more of Him. Over and over again, like the wringing of that sponge, until we are ready to receive. It sounds like such a harsh process until you experience the Glory of God or His Peace that passes all understanding or the Inexpressible Joy that comes from knowing Him and you realize that life is better than you could have ever made it settling, compromising and struggling along.
Romans 5:2-5 (NLT)
Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.
Faith is the game changer. It makes every trial in life worth it when we decide to trust God. I was driving home yesterday and became overwhelmed by the Goodness of God in my life. Like a dam bursting over I just began to cry at the thought of His Love and how it has manifested in my life. There was no special reason. God did not just do a miracle. It was not based on an emotion or episode. I was completely moved by the Power of God and His Love for me. As we begin to identify the place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, we confidently and joyfully delight in God’s Glory. We are not ruled by the emotions of mankind anymore as God carefully and consistently changes us just as He promised. It may feel radical but I guess that’s what resurrection power would feel like as our body is aligned with the Ruler of the Universe. God is developing endurance in us so we never give up on His Best. He strengthening our character so we make choices based on what we know rather than how we fell. He is leading us to confident hope that laughs in the face of danger standing at the foot of the Cross. God loves us. When we know that because it has filled us to overflowing – we will become confident. It is that confident hope that allows us to live by faith and not by sight.
Acts 9:17-20 (NLT)
So Ananias went and found Saul. He laid his hands on him and said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road, has sent me so that you might regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Instantly something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he got up and was baptized. Afterward he ate some food and regained his strength. Saul stayed with the believers in Damascus for a few days. And immediately he began preaching about Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is indeed the Son of God!”
I cannot explain the Hand of God and how He works. I cannot fully understand why that in the midst of adversity and my total weakness that I feel the most peace. I know it is the Lord. I know that when I cannot rely on myself and am forced to simply trust God – I am changed in that moment for the better every single time. So Saul was serving God, killing Christians and protecting his religion. He felt totally justified by God in this position. He did not consider himself a murderer but defender of his faith. God had to do something radical to get his attention. See God knew that Saul loved him and was just trying to obey. The Lord called out to Saul on the road to Damascus and he was blinded in that moment. Then the Lord told Ananias to go to him. Can you imagine the thoughts of Ananias? But he obediently did exactly as the Lord instructed. He laid hands on Saul and he was filled with the Holy Spirit. In that moment, Saul regained his sight but with a brand new perspective as he surrendered his life to the Lord. I don’t know what you are facing today. I do know that the God of the Universe will use any means possible to change our heart, save our soul and deliver us for His Glory. For the rest of his life, Saul who becomes Paul writes from prison. But the Message that he shares with the world on behalf of Christ is the most encouraging of them all. They are not the words of a beaten and imprisoned man but a soul set free. Freedom is not a position it’s a mindset. No matter where you are – you can experience freedom. Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.
The Lord wants us empty so that we can be filled today. Maybe you are under tremendous pressure today, good now you have room for more of Jesus. Perhaps you feel cornered and captured by your problems, let the Son set you free from the inside out. Inspect the vessel of your life is it dirty or a little too soapy mucking up the water of your life – empty it so it can be filled with living water once again. God will allow you to become dry and thirsty so you will want to be refilled, refreshed, renewed and restored. Desire produces faith that leads us to confident hope. Those who live in such hope will never be disappointed.
Romans 15:13 (NLT)
I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.