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September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
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“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. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”—Ephesians 3:14–21 (NIV)
A few years ago, I went to Hungary for 11 days on a mission trip. While there, I realized how obscenely large our meal portions are here in America and how quickly we can grow accustomed to eating less. In fact, I lost 10 pounds while there! After 11 days, my fullness capacity was much smaller than usual. This was made evident when I returned home to my wife and kids having pizza waiting for me and I was only able to eat two slices—I could usually take down about six slices pretty easily. But after just a few meals, my stomach expanded and my capacity to eat more increased!
Our capacity to experience the fullness of God is a lot like this. The Greek word for fullness is plērōma, which means to be filled to full capacity, like a cup that’s been filled right to the brim. In the New Testament, the word refers to the body of believers being filled with the presence, power, agency, and riches of God in Christ. What does this look like? In Colossians 1:9–12 (NIV) Paul explains what happens when we’re filled with the fullness of God: We “live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so [we] may have great endurance and patience, and [give] joyful thanks to the Father.” In summary, we live like Jesus, we walk in good works, we grow in knowledge and wisdom, we have strength, endurance, and patience by the power of the Spirit, and this leads to thankfulness and joy!
This is what it looks like to be rooted and established in love; to be filled to the measure of the fullness of God. And a big part of that, an all-important, indispensable aspect of it, must be for us to experience “together with all the Lord’s holy people” (Ephesians 3 NIV).
Hear me clearly when I say this: We will never experience the fullness of all God has for us on our own. We need to do life together with other believers, to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together” (Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV), and to grow in our faith and intimacy with Christ individually and collectively. When we do, not only are we able to experience fullness, but like I experienced when I returned from Hungary, God, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,” increases our capacity to experience His presence, power, agency, and riches in Christ Jesus!
Pause: Why do you believe community with other believers is necessary to experiencing the fullness of God in your life?
Practice: If you’re not already doing so, find a community of believers to do life with! If you need some help with this, please contact me at DanielS@CalvaryFTL.org.
Pray: Father, I pray that out of Your glorious riches You may strengthen me with power through Your Spirit in my inner being, so that Christ may dwell in my heart through faith. And I pray that You would continue to help me live rooted and established in love and to walk in the power of Your Spirit, together with all Your 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 I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of Your presence, power, and peace. And I thank You that You are the God who is able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine! Amen.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.