Prepare for Fullness

There are plenty of Bible verses that speak of “fullness”. One of them is Ephesians 3:19.

and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.

This verse immediately precedes one of my favorite passages of scripture, Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

God is able to do amazing things according to His power which is working within us. This power is a result of being filled with the fullness of God. God wants to fill us and He wants to do amazing things through us but we have a part to play as well. We must be willing to go through the process of preparation. In His mercy, God always prepares us for what He wants to do through us lest we be damaged by His power.

To describe what I mean, take a look at Matthew chapter 9. Here Jesus invited Matthew to leave his tax collecting booth with the two word invitation, “Follow Me”. Matthew followed Jesus to His house where He sat down to eat with “many tax collectors and sinners” (Matthew 9:10). During this meal, Jesus faced two challenges, first from the Pharisees who disagreed with His choice to eat with tax collectors and sinners. He answered this challenge by explaining that it is not the healthy that need a physician but the sick and instructed the Pharisees to learn compassion.

He was then challenged by the disciples of John who wondered why they fasted, as did the Pharisees, but Jesus did not expect His disciples to fast. Jesus answered them saying He could not expect the attendants of the groom to fast while He is with them and that the day would come when His disciples too would fast.

He concluded this challenge to the religious norms of the day with the well known verses in Matthew 9:16-17.

But no one puts a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; for the patch pulls away from the garment, and a worse tear results. Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.”

I want to relay verse 16 in a different translation that better captures the connection between the two verses. Verse 16 reads this way in Young’s Literal Translation of the Holy Bible. “And no one doth put a patch of undressed cloth on an old garment, for its filling up doth take from the garment, and a worse rent is made.” Notice that in the original Greek the cause of ruin to both the garment and the wineskin is its filling.

Before God can fill you, He must prepare you. You have to be seasoned, stretched, prepared, made flexible. If you’re not what He wants to do is likely to be so far outside “what you can ask or think” that you won’t be able to handle it. God does not want what He pours out to cause any harm to you or to be wasted.

He is going to take you through some preparation and testing. Take heart, if the preparation is stretching you farther than you think you can go, that likely means the outpouring will be greater than you can image.

Published by Eric M. Johnson

I am a follower of Christ, husband to a beautiful worshiper, and father to two amazing sons. My day job is at a great company in which I am fortunate to be a partner. I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Economics and a Master of Science Degree in Information Systems. I enjoy studying God's Word and have taken several graduate level Biblical Studies courses, never in pursuit of a degree. In my free time I enjoy traveling, outdoors, and sports. I am an Iowa Hawkeye fan which is a character building experience.

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