I love it when things are full – when our fridge is full of food, when my car is full of gas, when my cup is full of coffee. There’s a sense of comfort and satisfaction that comes with things being full. But as with all things we fill up, they easily and quickly become empty. And while being full brings satisfaction, being empty can cause anxiety.
Perhaps that’s why we have the tendency to fill and over fill our lives. One of the common responses to the question, “How are you?” is the exacerbated response, “Busy. Really Busy.” There’s this belief that runs deep in our society that the more we do, the more fulfilled and satisfied we will be. Because we’re afraid of missing out on some things, we try to do everything. But in the end, our constant going doesn’t fill us up, it leaves us feeling empty and depleted.
My guess is that many of us have not only experienced this in our physical and social lives, but in our spiritual lives as well. We’ve all experienced seasons where the bread of life has grown stale and the well of living water has run dry. Our prayers are rote and lifeless. We read the Scriptures out of duty and obligation, but find no joy in them. We attend worship services week-in and week-out but find we’re simply going through the motions. Too many Christians are empty not full.
Perhaps the reason so many of us are left empty is because we do the same thing in their spiritual lives that we do in every other part of their lives. We believe the more “spiritual” things we do, the more full we will be. Our lives are overfilled with spiritual activities that leave us feeling empty not full.
Half way through his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul prays for the church to be full. He prays…
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 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. (Eph. 3:14-19)
So my questions is, what is the fullness of God and how do we experience it? I personally don’t want a spiritual life that is empty or even half full, but one that is “filled to the measure.” Over the next couple of weeks I would like to explore this question and would love for you to join in. I’m going to use Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3 as my guide in answering the question, but would love to hear your thoughts and your experiences as well.
So a few questions to prime the pump:
Where and when do you experience “fullness” in your spiritual walk?
Where and when do you feel empty?