Thursday, September 1, 2016

Applying Fullness to Get Fullness

Recently, I discovered that my Tim Horton’s Mocha was not filled to the rim. I was disappointed with the feeling that I was not getting the full measure of what I paid for.[1]

At the same time, I have long ago accepted that getting a Mocha, full as it ought to be, meant waiting in line for it to happen. As long as employees were working at a good pace, waiting was just part of the cost of getting a full cup of java.

Just this week, it has pierced me deeply that God likes things full as well. It happened when I was considering God’s descriptions of a man named Stephen.[2] He was described as, full of the Spirit and of wisdom… full of faith and of the Holy Spirit… full of grace and power… full of the Holy Spirit”.[3]
When I looked up the words full and fill in God’s Book, along with their variations, it was clear that God’s expresses his fullness by doing things to the full in his children. By the end of my time with him this morning, I felt this very strong conclusion:

We must apply fullness to get fullness.

I will give the concluding illustration first, and then share a tiny bit of how I got here.

When I want to fill the daycare kid’s swimming pool, my goal is to have a full pool. However, I must use the garden hose to fill the pool, so my goal to have a full pool is not immediately satisfied. It takes time to get from my desire to have a full pool, to having the full pool I desire.

Because my goal is to fill the pool with water, I do not put the hose on a trickle. I do not open the valve part way. I want the pool full, so I open the valve fully. While the flow into the pool is limited by the capacity of the water system, the aim of a full pool makes me want to run the system at full capacity to get to my goal.

I’m sure you get the point. God wants us full of joy, full of his Spirit, full of righteousness, full of fruit, full of spiritual gifts. Whatever we think of his work, we must think of him doing things to the full. He gives life to the full, he wants to fill us with living water, he seeks to fill us with his Spirit, and since he wants us to be filled with all he is doing, we must open our hearts fully to him.

In other words, instead of reasoning that, since we will never be perfect this side of heaven we ought to err on the side of tolerating our imperfections (keeping the valve barely open), we ought to reason to our souls that, since everything about God is fullness, and God is working to bring his good work to completion in Christ Jesus, and this will one day mean we will be just like Jesus, or fully like Jesus, we must open up our hearts fully to whatever God is doing.

Opening our hearts fully does not mean we will immediately be full. It means that we know God wants to fill us with himself, and his righteousness, and his peace, and his joy, so we want to experience these things as fully today as is possible this side of heaven.

 I often speak of how we can know God better today than we have ever known him before. I realize that this mindset has been part of my life for some time because it is the only way to think about God filling us to the full, and completing his work to the full. The perfection will be in heaven, but I can experience today’s full measure by opening my heart fully to whatever God is doing.

Here is a SMALL sampling of Bible expressions that show God’s mind and heart for fullness in Christ, and how we ought to open our hearts fully to what he is doing. It does not matter how empty our hearts are, including those back rooms of darkness we have not hidden away as well as we once imagined. We can open our hearts fully, and receive today’s flow of the Spirit’s work in our lives.

God’s will for fullness, filling, growth, carrying on to completion:

·  “when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2 ~ like = fully)
·  “And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6 ~ completion = fullness)
·  “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:17)
·  “And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.” (I John 1:4)
·  “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11)
·  “And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 13:52)
·  “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” (Romans 15:13)
·  “and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:19)
·  “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit,” (Ephesians 5:18)
·  “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority.” (Colossians 2:9-10)
·  “and I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective for the full knowledge of every good thing that is in us for the sake of Christ.” (Philemon 1:6 ~ note: we “share” to get “full”)

There are many more Bible verses than this, but I hope you see the point. We are given God’s work to lead us to fullness in Christ in every way, and so we must open our hearts fully to God and his work today. Our longing to be full in the end, calls us to open up fully now.

If any of us haven’t already done so, now is a good time to take the sark’s[4] hand off the faucet and let our new hearts open it fully. To love God with all our hearts, all our souls, all our mind, and all our strength, we must open up fully to his love, his grace, and his Spirit, today.

© 2016 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)

[1] For anyone not aware of Canadian culture, Tim Horton’s is a famous chain of coffee shops.
[2] Acts 6-7
[3] Acts 6:3, 5, 8, 10; 7:55
[4] Sark is the Greek word translated “flesh” in English versions of the Bible. 

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