Experiencing the Fullness of God in the New Year

“… that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19b (NKJ)

In last week’s WordBytes, I recounted some of the things I had learned in 2014. It was freeing to reflect on how the Lord had used circumstances and relationships to shape me into the person He has purposed me to be. Upon sharing these insights, I am now ready to develop specific goals and strategies for 2015, especially with regard to my spiritual growth. My chief goal is to “experience the fullness of God” in my life and in ministry. If I am successful in accomplishing this goal, what will it look like? Here is my “short-list”.

Love given freely. “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Love is both a description of who God is and also a key attribute of His goodness. It was through His love that He revealed Himself to mankind. God could have chosen to first disclose Himself as our Creator or as our Righteous Judge, but instead He chose to show Himself as the Lover of Our Soul. God loved us before we loved Him and because of that love for us, He sent His only begotten Son that we might live (1 John 4:9). Should we not love others in the same way? “He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love” (1 John 4:8). I experience the fullness of God through His love.

Joy that fails expression. “Though now you do not see Him (Jesus), yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” 1 Peter 1:8

Warren Wiersbe, noted theologian and Bible teacher, described joy this way: “Joy is not something that we manufacture for ourselves; joy is a wonderful by-product of our fellowship with God.” Joy originates from gratitude and contentment regardless of circumstances. It culminates in unbridled praise and worship as we show our appreciation for God’s abiding presence. Jesus taught the meaning of this kind of joy through His illustration of the “True Vine”. By abiding in Him, like the branches to the vine, they would have fullness of joy (John 15:11). I experience the fullness of God through His joy.

Peace that passes human logic. “You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.” Isaiah 26:3

Peace can best be defined as a sense of wellbeing. “Wellbeing” goes by many names—happiness, comfort, security, welfare, and safety. These are used to describe the “feeling” generated within our soul when all is “going well.” These feelings, unfortunately, are “circumstance-dependent”. In contrast, the peace that is provided by God is based on His faithfulness and infallibility, regardless of the circumstance. We need only to pray and in return, we receive His peace to “guard” our heart (Phil. 4:6-7). God is the source of our peace (Ps. 55:22). I experience the fullness of God through His peace.

It is not surprising that my list mirrors the first three “fruit of the Spirit” (Gal. 5:22-23). Experiencing the fullness of God begins with the “filling” of the Holy Spirit. As the Holy Spirit controls more of our mind, will, and emotions, the fruit grow and bear witness to a changed life—conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Rom. 8:29; 12:2) and transformed into the persons God would have us to be (2 Cor. 3:18). The fullness of God is evidenced by the fruit we produce (Matt. 12:33). With Him, we are guaranteed “good success” (Jos. 1:8).

Good to the Last Byte…
These expressions of God’s fullness are not impossible. They can be attained through the work of the Holy Spirit resident within believers. He is “the critical factor” in successful living. We need only “trust and obey” (Isa. 26:4).