Colossians 2:9-10 (NIV) For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness. He is the head over every power and authority.
Yesterday, my co-worker and I ordered a pizza feast online for lunch. Do not judge me. We needed the carbs to get through the rest of the day. When the food had not arrived an hour later, I called the establishment to inquire as to the status of our lunch. The gentleman on the phone apologized that the internet and phone line in the store had “gone down” and that he did not receive the order. Well, my online banking inquiry showed that I had been charged for the order that had not been “received”. He continued to stumble over his words but assured me that if I would just place another order that it would arrive momentarily. The catch was that I was to pay for the order again. He promised that I would be refunded my money from the first order in a couple of days. I said, “No, thank you.” I had no intention of paying the establishment twice for a pizza. We ordered Chinese starving at this point. Okay, starving is figurative. At any rate, when our food arrived, it was disappointing. Though hot and exactly what I ordered, it was clearly a substitution. I desired pizza. I had my “heart” set on it. When it did not arrive, I was disappointed. I compromised and did not feel satisfied even though I was full.
Life is full of expectation. We wake up with a heart and head full of them each and every day. Setting goals, making lists, and chasing dreams that hopefully will lead to a rich and satisfying life. However, disappointment finds us in the midst of compromise and substitutions. See, you and I were made to live in the Glory of God created to be His Children and live in a constant state of fulfillment. When we look to other people and the things of this world to fill us up – we find only lack and disappointment because it is settling for lesser things. Sin has caused us to fall from God’s Glorious Standard of living preset in our DNA from the moment He created us. He was right there in our mother’s womb programming our expectation according to His Plan and Purpose for our life. Read Psalm 139 and you will see that life is not random but a series of scheduled events with the hope that all mankind will find their way back to the Father through His Son. Are you satisfied today? Are you content? What are you full of? Those who live in the fullness of Christ will have a rich and satisfying life.
In Christ Jesus, we can have fullness. What is fullness? It means to be filled completely, containing all that can be held, filled to the utmost, complete, entire, and maximum. It is to live in abundance and be well-supplied. What has taken the place of fullness? Compromise. Substitutions. Rather than waiting on the Lord and desiring more of Him, we settle for immediate gratification rather than full satisfaction. Crying out to Jesus to fill me up but coming with a heart, mind and soul set on lesser things rather than grasping for, waiting on and taking hold of His Fullness.
John 1:14-18 (NIV) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
The church testifies “look what the Lord has done.” I wonder if God really did it. If He did, the church would not be lacking today. A miracle is the impossible becoming a reality not keeping the lights on. His Presence is all consuming not just a Sunday and Wednesday thing. His Glory changes us completely not just superficially. I bought a watermelon the other day. I spent quite some time deliberating over all the melons in the display. I thumped them. I inspected them. I took extra care in selecting one. I could taste in the moment I picked it up and put it in the cart. When I got home and began to cut it, I found it to be rotten on the inside. Mushy and brown with the acidic smell of decomposition. I was disappointed. I felt duped. I wanted my money back. How many times do we find this to be true in our life? We think that we have God’s Best only to find it is less than that?
As a whole, the Body of Christ must get back to desiring, making room for and waiting on the Lord to fill us to with His Presence. We must hunger and thirst for righteousness again. Matthew 5:6 tells us that those who hunger and thirst for righteousness will be filled. It is time to stop bypassing God’s Heart to try to take from His Hand. When was the last time your prayer was simply, I just want you God, I need you Jesus, or fill me with more of You. God has given us His Word. He actually wrapped it in flesh so we could have a living demonstration to follow to the Cross. Jesus died for our sin to give us grace so we could attain righteousness or right standing with God again. What are we doing to maintain it?
Ephesians 1:22-23 (NIV) And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
I love this promise. The fullness of Him (Jesus) fills everything in every way. Are you feeling full today? Full of His Power, His Authority, His Fullness. It belongs to us by virtue of grace. Jesus came to give us an abundant life. His Spirit lives in us cultivating good fruit that will satisfy our heart and soul. (Galatians 5:22-23) Isn’t that what we are really after when we ask the Lord to fill us up? To find that sweet spot in Jesus where there is no burden to produce, no desperation to have, no need to worry, and to just be satisfied. Things will never satisfy a hungry heart. Money will not solve our problems and often leads to bigger ones. To whom much is given much is required. It was the rich young ruler who couldn’t give up his stuff to follow Jesus. It is when we are broken before the Lord that we can be filled with His Grace, Love and Mercy. God is constantly pouring out His Love and Blessing on us. He pursues us relentlessly with unconditional love. It is when we are wrecked and everything falls apart that most people discover His Fullness. Sounds crazy but it’s true. When exhausting all other avenues, we say to the Lord I choose You.
John 15:5-10 (NIV) “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love.”
Maybe it is not our job to be filled with Christ, but rather that we remain in the Lord. I cannot contain the Glory of God. It is just too big for me. However, if I step into His Presence, His Glory overtakes me. We must remain in Christ at all times. To hunger and thirst for righteousness can only be satisfied in the Presence of God which promises fulfillment. We find joy in His Presence and pleasures in His Right Hand. (Psalm 16:11) The fulfillment of God is not anything tangible but completely spiritual and supernatural. It is not dependent on the haves or have nots but on the wholeness of God in Jesus Christ filling our life to the uttermost. Sin will not allow His Presence into those restricted areas. We have been given freedom to choose who we will serve. God will never overstep His Bounds. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and will not cultivate another one’s field. Any un-surrendered area of life will lay barren. To have the Fullness of Christ including His Presence and Power requires fully surrendering our life to the Lord and submitting to His Authority and Power in all things. Those who give their life to Jesus will be satisfied. The more you give the more you get. As our soul prospers, so will we.
Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Can I be so bold as to challenge you today? For the next week, when you pray, do not pray for specific things or outcomes. I know I just shot down the recommended prayer regimen of many doctrines. It is how I was taught to pray. Instead, when you have a need in a certain area of your life, simply ask the Lord to fill it with His Fullness. Read the Word every single day – it feeds your soul and spirit. Seek the guidance His Spirit that lives in you for direction. Do not ask God for anything other than His Presence. Examine your heart and decide if there are some areas restricted from Holy Inhabitation. No matter what the need or how desperate your cause – pray only for the fullness of Christ. Why? Jesus Christ knows exactly what you need to be filled to the measure of all fullness of God for your life. He is able to do “immeasurably” more than all we ask or imagine. When we yield our expectation fully to God through His Son, Jesus, we allow the Presence of God to fill that area and complete it to our full satisfaction. Too often we tell God what we want from His Hand and do not seek His Heart on the matter. Not anymore.
John 10:10 (NIV) The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.