Quite a few times lately I have arrived at midafternoon and felt completely full and satisfied as if I had eaten a meal. Yet I had had nothing physical to eat or drink all day.
What I had been “feeding” on those days was the Word of God—spending extended periods searching and meditating on the Scriptures. When I looked up at the clock, I was surprised that hours had gone by. Not only did this bring about a sense of spiritual and emotional fullness, but even my body felt full.
How often years ago I had prayed words from Frances Havergal’s song, “Lord, Speak To Me:”
fill me with thy fullness, Lord…
But it seemed God wasn’t answering my prayer.
“Lord, why can’t I be filled?” I cried out often.
There were verses about being filled–with hope, with joy, with peace, with compassion, with the Holy Spirit, with the fullness of God. Yet it seemed I was so far from experiencing any of that.
Then one day while sitting in my Bible study, I wrote a poem about this issue. I’ve lost track of that poem, but I remember a part of it and the theme. One section went something like this: “How can I be filled with the things of God when I am filled with so much else—like fear of man, and my own plans…?”
The list of all I was filled with went on, but those two were big obstacles which kept me from being filled with all my Father had for me.
Since then with God’s help I’ve dealt with fearing people more than I feared God. I’ve renounced attempting to please them above pleasing Him. At its core was my being filled with doubt when it came to trusting God.
As I’ve fought my battle to stop making my own plans and instead follow the Lord and embrace His, I’ve realized when I get caught in this habit, I’m filled with pride, which believes my plan is better than His.
The theme of my poem and what God has spoken to me repeatedly since is this: if I want to be filled, I first need to become empty of the things that are opposite of what I’m craving.
If I want to be filled with peace, I need to allow God to empty me of fear and worry. If I want to be filled with joy, I need to let go of depression, doubt, despair. If I want to be full of compassion like Jesus was, I need to give God permission to empty me of criticism and condemnation.
If I want to be filled with the fullness of God, I need to abort being so full of myself.
Paul prays a prayer in Ephesians 3:14-20 which is a prayer I’ve embraced for myself and prayed for others. Here is part of it:
[That you may really come] to know [practically, through experience for yourselves] the love of Christ, which far surpasses mere knowledge [without experience]; that you may be filled [through all your being]unto all the fullness of God [may have the richest measure of the divine Presence, and become a body wholly filled and flooded with God Himself]! Verse 19 (AMP)
This is what God wants for me and for each of us. This is why Jesus came to this earth—so that He could empty us of all that destroys and allow us to be filled and flooded with Himself.
Lord, that’s what I want for Christmas—to be filled with more of You and to let that fullness overflow to others.
How about You? Do you feel full of the Lord or full of many other things that battle against your union with Him? Will you be brave and bow before God and say, “Free me, so I can be filled with You?” He will be faithful to answer that prayer.