water glass

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?


10 Responses to “Fullness”

  1. simplewithsyd

    Full? Staying on word daily and giving/loving others daily : )

    If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.

    Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. John 15:10-12

    • bryanmarvel

      Hey Sydney – Thanks for reading and contributing to the discussion. I agree that staying in the Word is a huge part of experiencing fullness in Christ. And specifically experiencing joy. Not sure how familiar you are with John Piper, but he says that God is most glorified when we are most satisfied in Him – i.e. when we are walking and living in the joy of the Lord.

      I responded to Chris the same in regards to loving people. We experience God most fully in the context of community, which I hope to discuss in a few weeks.

  2. Chris

    I totally agree with the satisfaction of being filled. And that spiritually, the sincerity of our worship determines how “filled” we are by it. That real, honest intent, our constant love for God as He loves us, is most tangible in my life when I demonstrate it towards others. God’s purpose is to help us become like Him, and Christ showed that by His perfect selflessness in every action. So when we also seek to selflessly demonstrate what we study and pray about, we are filled! Love is as love does.

    A friend of mine wrote this article about how to love God. I think it really applies here and is worth a read! http://goo.gl/a8IPhz
    Give me your thoughts on it if you get a chance!

    • bryanmarvel

      Hey Chris – thanks for reading and contributing. I do think that a big part of being filled is finding ourselves receiving love from God as well as expressing love towards God. And I think one big way we love God is by loving others. I’m going write about that in a few weeks,

      I agree with your friend that the how to’s in loving God can sometimes be challenging since God is intangible. But I would suggest that we do have a tangible expression of God in His people. Paul writes in Eph. 1 that Christ’s body – the church – is the fullness of him in every way. So when we love His body, His people, we are loving Him.

  3. simplewithsyd

    Like the truth you wrote, chris. We are to be conformed to Him…not way if world. His heart is compassionate for the lost and unifying of His living body of believers…oh yeah!

  4. Amy Schantz

    I feel full when I take time away from my agenda to do/enjoy something God has set before me. I feel empty when I work in my own strength to accomplish my plan and my agenda. Thanks, Bryan for the questions! This really made me think!

    • bryanmarvel

      Hey Amy – Your welcome. Thanks for reading and contributing. As I mentioned to Sydney. There is something significant about the connection between walking in the fullness of the Lord with experiencing joy with what God has given you.

      Learning to surrender all to Him is tough but it’s through the process of surrender that we experience more of the life he has for us.

  5. Laura Powell

    I feel full when I take time to just be with the Lord and enjoy His presence – sharing my thoughts with Him, thanking Him for who He is and for all He’s done in my life, reflecting on His character, and worshiping Him with music and dancing.


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