Don’t Settle for Less of GodDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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.
Last year, my friend Gaines did something either very heroic or very ludicrous. He was a programmer at Echo Valley, the part of Laity Lodge Youth Camp that serves teenagers. In this role, Gaines decided to scale an almost insurmountable height ... eating a three-pound cinnamon roll at Lulu's Bakery in San Antonio. The video of this exploit would be shared with the campers in the hope of entertaining them and convincing them of Gaines' all-out commitment to them.
So, with his video crew tagging along, Gaines attempted to scale the mountain of Lulu's three-pound roll. If you're trying to visualize what this would be like, picture the most luscious cinnamon roll you have ever eaten, and then enlarge it until it is the size of two red bricks side by side. Gaines attacked his roll with gusto at first. By the end, he was about ready to burst. But, he did manage to eat the whole thing. I must confess that just watching the video made me feel a little nauseous. I know what it's like to overeat. I can't even imagine how it felt to be filled with a three-pound cinnamon roll.
You might wonder why I'm sharing such a bizarre, stomach-churning story. Well, it's what came to mind as I considered our passage for today. It is the last line of Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, and for us: "[I pray that you may have power] to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God" (3:19). Did you get that? Paul prays that we might be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Can you see why I remembered Gaines and his three-pound roll?
Commentators debate the precise meaning of Paul's words here, but a couple of things are abundantly clear. First, no matter how much you and I have experienced God, not matter how much God is in us, there is still more—infinitely more—to be experienced. Compared to the fullness of God, you have I have barely tasted God's love, grace, mercy, justice, and peace. The audacious prayer in Ephesians 3:19 jolts us out of our satisfaction. It creates in us a yearning for a deeper, truer, and more transformational experience of God.
Second, this prayer assumes an extraordinary truth. It communicates mind-blowing good news. You and I have the capacity, both as individuals and as members of the church, to be filled with God's own fullness. Sometimes, it can be easy for us to assume that we have experienced most of what we will experience of God in this life. We can become complacent spiritually. We can sell ourselves—and God—short. Ephesians 3:19 urges us to seek more of God, to expect more of his presence and power, to open our lives more fully to him. It says, in a way, "Don't settle for less of God! Be open and expectant, because God wants to fill you to overflowing with all that he is."
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When you think about your life, have there been times when you felt full of God? Are you full of God today? Are you seeking to be filled with more of God? Or have you become complacent in your spiritual life?
PRAYER: Gracious God, if this verse were not in Scripture, I don't think I would ever pray to be filled to the measure of your fullness. This sounds impossible. To pray this way is audacious. But your Word gives me confidence. It gives me the boldness to ask you for what I would never imagine was okay. So here it goes.
Lord, may I be filled to the measure of your own fullness. Fill me with your love and grace. Fill me with your mercy and tenderness. Fill me with your justice and righteousness. Fill me with your compassion and passion. Fill me so that every part of my life is transformed by you, so that everything I do contributes to your purposes, so that in every way I live for the praise of your glory. Amen.