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 . . . 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.

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen. (Eph 3:16-21)

 

If you’ve had the usual sampling of Christmas culinary cheer, by now you probably have that full feeling that accompanies the season. Hence the impetus for a popular resolution to start each new year, but enough said about that.

As I considered Paul’s prayer for the Ephesian believers, I realized that what I long for in 2020 can be summed up in one word: “more.” I want more strength through the power of the Spirit in me. I want to grasp more of the love that surpasses knowledge. I want more of God’s fullness — the only full feeling that really matters.

So how can I get what I want? How can I do better at emptying me of myself and filling up on HIm?

I can’t.

Been there. Tried that. Still trying that (slow learner). Keep coming up empty.

God, who wastes nothing if I’m willing to learn from it, has been using my empty efforts to teach me that fullness comes from Him as a gift, and not as payment for my labor. I can’t muster up my own spiritual energy. If I want to move forward in Him, I have to make a daily decision to pull up at His filling station, turn off the ignition of my self-focus, and open myself to Him pouring into me until I’m full of His Spirit, His power, His love. The price of all this is already taken care of; I can charge it all to Jesus’ account. All He asks is that I recognize who paid for all this, accept it with awe and thanksgiving, and use His gift to get where He wants me to be. He supplies the power and the direction; I supply the willingness.

I’ve been gratefully filling up on God’s Word every morning for many years, and it’s always the best part of my day. These verses never fail to speak to me, but this time they seemed to call my attention to the truth that along with simply wanting more of God in my inner being, I need to ask God for this specifically. Even though God knows our every thought, He’s made it clear that it’s essential for us to ask, to seek, to knock. Something happens inside when we approach our heavenly Father and put our desires into words. One thing is that the desire moves from “I wish I had” to “I want, and I’m going to ask the only One who can give it and show me how to use it.” Wishing accomplishes nothing. Asking — especially knowing that more of His Spirit is the very thing our Father longs to give every one of us — puts us in right relationship with the Giver, and prepares us to receive His gift for His purposes.

Whatever I receive in answer to my prayer for more of His Spirit, there is one thing I can be sure of: it will be more than I can ask or imagine.

Thank You, Father, that You continue to teach me with love, patience and perseverance. Help me to keep leaning, keep learning and keep yearning for more of You every day.