Filled With His Fullness

[The following is my Prayer Letter teaching this week to my Intercessors. So I will use it as a blog post here.]
“…that you might be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19b

There are some choruses that are seeping into our common worship that are troubling me a bit. They do not trouble me because I don’t like them because they are sweet, they trouble me because they are advocating something that is not in our Bibles. The phrase is some form of “empty me.” Now the thought is that we want less of ourselves to be visible and more of our Lord. Usually the next phrase has to do with Him filling us, which is very Biblical and very appropriate.

The phrase has bothered me for some time, so I finally took the time to do some research. The term is, of course, used in scripture but usually is a negative. His people in the OT were chastised for coming before Him with empty hands, etc… However, there is nothing – nowhere – about us becoming less in order for Him to become more.

John the Baptist made a statement, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30) He was not talking about his person, He was talking about the scope of his ministry. His ministry must become less prominent while the ministry of Jesus must become seen. To make this mean that we need to disappear in our relationship with Him is to misuse the scripture.

As I was pondering this, the Lord spoke sweetly, “I have no space problem.”  The Lord told the servants at the wedding to fill the water jars with water, prior to His turning that water into wine. This is the understanding I think we need to reach for. He takes us as we are, full of ourselves, and makes the “best wine” out of us. He does not ask us to eliminate ourselves, but invites us to allow Him to be King in “our” heart. He treasures our being enough to die for us. He never wanted to eliminate us, or “empty ourselves of ourselves,” instead He desires to enrich us and bless us with Himself. The Spirit takes no space because He is spirit. He fills us with Himself while we are full of ourselves. I know that is not possible in the natural world, but in the Spirit it is what happens.There is never an entreaty to “empty” what He desires to love because He takes no space in us yet fills us with the “fullness of God.”

We, of course, desire to allow the transforming of our lives for His glory and that means corporating with Him in eliminating certain thoughts and behaviors. However, He doesn’t do that for us, but asks us to use Him and the power of His word to effect change as needed. Oh yes, you have also discovered with me, that need never ends.

We choose His will – that glorifies Him. Us being empty without a will is not what He is after. I hope some of this helps. We do not need to allow un-Biblical theological concepts to dominate our thinking of ourselves. When we do, we become “religious” but it is no help in becoming truly spiritual.

9 thoughts on “Filled With His Fullness

  1. Does it not seem that, somehow, a great many unbiblical theological concepts are widespread right now? Perhaps it has always been this way, but I was not aware of it.

    Even “dying to self” is not the same as emptiness…which (seems to me) is more Eastern mysticism or Buddism than Christian thought.

    • Dying to self has the attribute of giving one’s will to the option of another’s will. Becoming empty is very Eastern in its concept as well as self centered. It keeps the thought life centered in the self.

      I think the longer we do not emphasize relationship in and with a knowledge of Word (instead of relationship and almost no word/or word legalistically) in the church the more these unbiblical theological concepts have opportunity to take hold.

  2. Self centered. I hadn’t thought of that. It is like being extremely shy because of fear of how we will be preceived, or that we’ll make a mistake, etc. is really a kind of inside-out pride. Wanting emptyness is inside out self-centered thinking? Hmmmm…

    • I am discovering that most (maybe not all) folk who think they do not love themselves or whom others think have poor self-esteem, actually love themselves more than anyone else (or anything else) and that is the essential problem. Must have discernment here, but it has the potential to set us free of a lot of garbage.

  3. Thank you for this post Iris. I believe there is a sense of this even being taught as something necessary to grow in maturity as a Christian. I have picked up on subtle messages that would imply the need for people to empty themselves to make more room for the Lord. I have always thought it a very curious concept though.

    It would seem that if it were true, we could somehow get rid of all the things that we perceive as hindrances to the Lord’s ability of working in and through our lives. We would be working at all times to get rid of these things. These type of thoughts lead to “work” magic bullets or formulas that might help us to find ways to get rid of the issues in our lives.

    It has also been my experience that once we have seemingly worked through one issue there is another one waiting to be dealt with. I have come to the conclusion that the only way I can truly grow in my ability to allow the Lord to work through me, I need really to be more relational with the Lord as I allow him access into my hidden life. I need to understand his heart toward me and toward all people. It is in my weakness that he is strong and this has caused me to celebrate those things in me that are indeed imperfect or undesirable. Because I know that where I am weak, I need more of him and if I truly trust that he will be there with me, I am able to trust that he will fill those gaps when I need them filled.

    Once I realized that the Lord was able to use me “warts and all” and that real change would come as a result of my heart turning toward his, the pressure was off. It is by his grace that we are able to grow and change and become the people he has designed us to be. We are becoming all the time and we need to accept the process on his terms. Through our interactions and relating to him, we will grow and evolve as he completes the good work he has begun in us.

  4. “I am discovering that most (maybe not all) folk who think they do not love themselves or whom others think have poor self-esteem, actually love themselves more than anyone else (or anything else) and that is the essential problem. Must have discernment here, but it has the potential to set us free of a lot of garbage.”

    I find this comment interesting and have some thoughts of my own on it. Might stop back at a later date and share my view, if that’s ok with you.

    • Oh yes, I read both of them. I just did not feel a need to comment on what was a good explanation of growing up in the Lord, so I chose not to expound further. Thanks for writing here — both times.

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