Ephesians 3:19b, “that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.”
A few days back as I was driving around and listening to some sports talk radio when I heard former NFL offensive lineman Mark Schlereth say that when he played for coach Joe Gibbs of the Washington Redskins, Gibbs used to tell them all the time, “lose yourself…lose yourself.” Schlereth recounted that he believed this was the key to the success of Gibbs teams and to some of the other teams he played on as well. When we are saved we are commanded to lose ourselves to Christ.
The inner strengthening of the Holy Spirit leads to the indwelling of Christ, which leads to abundant love, which leads to Gods fullness in us. To “be filled up to all the fullness of God” is incomprehensible to our small and limited human minds. This concept here is really just incredible and indescribable. There is no way to understand this this side of heaven. We can only believe it and praise God for it.
Even to begin to grasp the magnitude of this truth we must think of every attribute and characteristic of God: His power, majesty, wisdom, love, mercy, patience, kindness, longsuffering, and every other thing God is and does. Paul repeatedly mentions this fullness in this letter to the Ephesians. In Ephesians 1:23 he wrote, “which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills and in all.” In Ephesians 4:10 he said, “He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, so that He might fill all things.” Ephesians 5:18 says, “And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit.”
The Greek word that is translated here is pleroo which means “to make full” or “to fill to the full.” This denotes the total dominance of something or someone over something or someone else. For example a person who is filled with rage is completely dominated by hatred. A person who is filled with happiness is completely dominated by joy. To “be filled up to all the fullness of God,” means to be completely dominated by Him. There is then nothing left of self, or any part of your old self. To “be filled” with “God” is to be emptied of self. This is not a case of having a lot of God and leaving just a little bit of yourself. No, this is all of God and none of you.
What a God we worship! He loves us so much that He will not rest until we are completely like Him. David sang about this in 2 Samuel 22:2-3, “The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold and my refuge; My savior, You save me from violence.”
Job almost seemed at a loss for words in describing the fullness of God. Job 26:2-3 says, “What a help You are to the weak! How You have saved the arm without strength! What counsel You have given to one without wisdom! What helpful insight you have abundantly provided!” Then verses 7-8, “He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing, He wraps up the waters in His clouds, And the cloud does not burst under them.” Verse 11, “The pillars of heaven tremble and are amazed at His rebuke.” Then he ends chapter 26 with this in verses 13-14, “By His breath the heavens are cleared; His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent. Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; And how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, we can understand.”
From our human perspective we see just a small fraction of God’s ways, “the fringes of His ways” as Job said. This is why David writes in Psalm 17:15, “As for me, I shall behold Your face in righteousness; I will be satisfied with Your likeness when I awake.” Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 13:12 what we will fully understand some day: “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”
Our challenge then is to empty ourselves completely and fully submit to Him and then truly experience the “fullness of God.” Far too many Christians live lives of mediocrity in which they worship a god of their own making who is not the God of the Bible. If they would just empty themselves and submit themselves fully to Him then they would experience the “fullness of God.” When we do this God then will use us to draw others to Him and to exalt Him in that. Have you emptied yourself? Have you submitted fully to Him and His Word?