We all like the idea of being filled up. It’s the feeling we get after an amazing meal or a good conversation or just a long, deep breath. We all have different friends and activities that leave us feeling filled up. In fact, we love that feeling so much, that we will fill our lives, even with things that don’t satisfy. We fill our calendars, our social media, and any quiet spaces.
In the Church, we talk a lot about being “filled” with the Spirit of God. If you’ve accepted Jesus as your Savior, the Spirit of God is there, ready to fill you up. Who doesn’t want to live like that? Who doesn’t want to be overflowing with what Jesus called “streams of living water” (John 7:38)? Sounds great, right?
Now, if you’re a believer in Jesus, God’s Spirit dwells in you, not doubt about it. But even if you’re saved, you might have noticed that the “overflow” life Jesus is talking about still feels out of reach. Why? Simple. You can’t fill something that’s already full.
If you and I are going to live the fully devoted lives that we’ve been called to live, we need to empty ourselves. The Spirit of God is not one more good idea to throw on the pile. When Colossians 1 tells us that we should be “full of the knowledge of the will of God,” it doesn’t mean that we should just cram it into the already pack junk drawer of our soul.
In a world obsessed with image, celebrity status, and spotlights, the heroes of our faith stand in sharp contrast. We serve the same God who asked Noah and the prophet Jeremiah to preach to a people who would never listen to them. We serve the same God who told his disciples to deny themselves, walk beneath the weight of persecution and death, and follow him.
John the Baptist explained this when his friends were concerned that people were following Jesus instead of him:
He must increase, but I must decrease.
You see, if you and I are not willing to decrease throughout our lives and let the Lord increase, we won’t be the only ones who pay the price. The world is full of people who are full of themselves and have slapped Jesus on their lives like a label. When the rest of the world sees that, they get a wrong idea of who Jesus is. They just see more people, full of themselves and calling it Christianity.
Brothers and sisters, our only hope of sharing the good news of Jesus with a lost and broken world is to empty ourselves and ask God to fill us. That takes a step of humility, because we have to admit and understand that we can’t save the world, Jesus already did that through his finished work on the cross. Our only job is to shovel out the “self” and let that finished work of Jesus have its perfect way in us.