July 4, 2015
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 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, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
The Sixth Day Exercise
Last Sixth day we dealt with the first part of Paul’s prayer:
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. Ephesians 3:16-17a.
This prayer, including part 2 featured in today’s text, offers us such a gift. Paul gives us an explicit inside look at what God wants for people and how he gets us there.
The big end game here:
that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
So how’s that going for you? I don’t think I’m there yet. I’m actually not sure I’m anywhere close. Think about that. TO BE FILLED TO THE MEASURE OF ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD.
God wants you and I to be FILLED WITH HIS FULLNESS. What would that mean for us? My first instinct says it means to be filled with power. Isn’t that what Jesus told us just before his ascension into Heaven– that the Holy Spirit would come upon us and we would be “filled with power from on high” so that we would be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and onward?
In order to get to this outcome, here’s the prayer: THAT YOU BEING ROOTED AND ESTABLISHED IN LOVE. This is the very essence of discipleship. This is what the Holy Spirit lives to do: to give us deep roots in the love of God. It’s somewhat easy to grasp this at a high conceptual level, but that’s not what this passage is about. Next phrase: MAY HAVE POWER. O.K., so grasping the concept at the level of knowledge isn’t it. This is about a present experience of power coming up from the depths of our inner person which is ROOTED AND ESTABLISHED IN LOVE. Next phrase: TOGETHER WITH ALL THE ALL THE LORD’S HOLY PEOPLE. This will not happen alone, by ourselves. John Wesley once said, “There is no holiness apart from social holiness.” He didn’t mean, as is commonly thought, social justice (as Christian as this may be). He meant community, relationships, the grace of God experienced in togetherness.
This is not a simple, “Are you in a small group,” issue. This way of being “together” often does not happen in today’s typical church small group. It’s a different quality of togetherness. The New Testament word would be “Koinonia” or the fellowship of the Holy Spirit.
So what are we doing together as we draw power from the deep roots of the Love of God in our inmost selves? We are GRASPING HOW WIDE AND LONG AND HIGH AND DEEP IS THE LOVE OF CHRIST. This is not a concept. This is a fixation on the person of Jesus Christ, his birth, life, words, deeds, miracles, signs, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension and return. This next piece is perhaps the most critical of all. It’s where we get off track and why we miss BEING FILLED TO THE MEASURE OF ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD. The prayer is for a certain kind of “learning.” It is TO KNOW THIS LOVE THAT SURPASSES KNOWLEDGE. This is about a kind of “knowing” that is way beyond traditional “knowledge.” Our natural mode is to acquire knowledge en route to mastery. This way is about abiding in a way of “knowing” en route to being mastered.
Are you tracking with me? This is the way to the seemingly incomprehensible reality of BEING FILLED TO THE MEASURE OF ALL THE FULLNESS OF GOD. This is what God meant life to be about from the very beginning. This is his redemption project.
JESUS IS THE FULLNESS OF GOD. LIFE IS THE FULLNESS OF GOD, a.k.a. Jesus, IN US.
I was with a good friend and forthcoming Seedbed author, Dr. Philip Tallon, last week. We were working on a Seedbed publishing project. In one of our conversations he made this remark that has stayed with me. He said, “Discipleship is the process of becoming who Jesus would be if he were me.” How about that?! ;0)
SPIRIT OF THE LIVING GOD, FALL AFRESH ON ME.
In case you are new to the Sixth Day Exercise. In case you are just joining us, each week we share in an exercise called “The Sixth Day Exercise.” As Genesis 1 has it, God created human beings in his own image on the sixth day. Genesis 3 shows us the desecration of the image of God in our race which has only compounded itself across the centuries. It’s why the Image Bearer himself, Jesus Christ, came. His life, death, resurrection and ascension reversed the curse of sin and death and created a pathway whereby our broken race could be made gloriously whole again; restored to the Creator’s intent. Paul put it this way:
For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 1 Corinthians 15:22.
Given we were made on the Sixth Day, it makes sense that we might stop and assess how it’s going on the long journey of being “remade” on each successive sixth day.
P.S. Join the Daily Text Fasting Challenge. It’s 40 days, one day per week at a time, over the next 52 weeks. It’s a food only fast. Begins after supper on one day and ends at 4pm the next- 2 meals. Liquids fine. Fasting goes better together. I’ll send you a short weekly encouragement email if you register.– sign up here.
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J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.