I have a quick thought for you guys today. Maybe a little bit of a confession.
Yesterday, I was listening to a podcast by Francis Chan, and he kept mentioning this one phrase. Filled with the fullness of God. And I have to tell you, it started to get to me a little bit. Does something ever just hit you? I was driving home from work, and I couldn’t get my mind wrapped around this phrase. Filled with the fullness of God. I know we are supposed to live like Jesus. But there was something different about this phrase. Sometimes, we just need to hear something in a different way to make our brain work a little bit. And mine was going into overdrive. And then it hit me. I knew why I couldn’t shake this phrase.
I realized I was afraid to be like Jesus.
If you asked me, “Hey, Matt, do you want to be like God?” Of course, I would say yes. But when Francis kept using that phrase, filled with the fullness of God, it scared me. Do I really want to be like Jesus? Do I want to be filled with the fullness of God? These thoughts started rushing into my head. What does that look like? If I really live my life filled with the fullness of God, would I have any friends? Would people want to be around me? Would I be the antisocial, “Wow, he’s really gone off the deep end!” guy that no one wants to be around? That was my dilemma. I just sat there listening to that sermon, thinking about what it would really look like to be filled with the fullness of God.
I’m afraid to be like Jesus.
What a haunting phrase. The Bible calls us to be like Christ, but I had to be honest with myself, first. Do I even want to be like Him? Do I really want to live like I think he’s calling us to live? It’s a hard question that I need to answer. It’s a hard question that you need to answer.
What does it look like to live in the fullness of God… And do we really want it?
But then I looked at the other verses surrounding this phrase. They’re amazing!
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. -Ephesians 3:16-19
The Power of Love
It all comes down to the power of love, and I’m not talking about Back to the Future or Huey Lewis and the News! I saw something new in these verses! Paul was praying that these Christians would be rooted in the power of love. He wanted them to understand how wide and deep and long and massive love can actually be. Paul says this love is stronger and deeper than any knowledge. This Love is strong. It’s deep. It’s powerful.
And who is Love? God!
God is love.
And that’s when it hit me. I wasn’t afraid to be like Jesus. I was afraid of becoming like the Pharisees–religious leaders that cared more about rules instead of deep relationships. This isn’t Jesus. This was everything Jesus spoke against! For a lot of Christians, we have made God out to be a religious rule maker that we can never please. But that isn’t God. God is love.
I don’t need to be afraid of being too much like Jesus. Not the Jesus of the New Testament. This Jesus -the real Jesus- was filled with love and compassion. He cared for others and fed the hungry. He shows love for people and meets them where they’re at in life, no matter what their past looked like. He was a friend to everyone, regardless of their social standing.
Who wouldn’t want to be friends with Jesus!
He was followed by thousands and thousands of people. Everyone wanted to be by His side. Why? Because He loved others. He cared for others. And He met the needs of others. It was never about what people could do for Him. It was only about what He could do for others.
I think that is someone I want to look up to. That is someone I want to model my life after.
We don’t need to be afraid to be filled with the fullness of God. We won’t lose our personalities or become some religious drone.
We will simply learn how to live in the power of God’s Love.
And, in return, show love to those around us.
Now, go be filled with the fullness of God!
That is my goal!