September 27, 2018 • Life for Leaders
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.
Do you ever find yourself reading along in Scripture and somehow missing the wonder? I certainly do sometimes. But, every now and then, the Holy Spirit nudges me, helping me to stop and consider the mind-blowing truth of something I have just read.
Ephesians 3:19 is one of those verses that ought to blow our minds. And it will if we pay close attention to it. You see, Paul ends his prayer for the readers of his letter by asking that they “may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” If you pause for a moment and reflect, you may very well want to ask, “Filled with what? Filled to the measure of all the fullness of God? Are you kidding?”
I don’t think Paul was kidding, actually. Commentators debate the precise meaning of his words here, but a couple of things are abundantly clear. First, no matter how much you and I have experienced God, no matter how much God is in us, there is still more—infinitely more—to be experienced. Compared to the fullness of God, you and 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 stretches our imaginations. 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 together 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.”
Something to Think About:
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?
Something to Do:
Pay attention to how God is present in you today: in your thoughts, feelings, actions, relationships, hopes, loves.
Gracious God, if this verse were not in Scripture, I don’t think I would ever pray to be filled to the measure of all 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.
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Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.