One thing that is certain with children is if you give them an empty space, they will fill it. Whether a trinket box, a satchel, a plastic egg or an envelope, a child’s imagination knows no limits when it comes to conceiving of every possible thing they could store in that new space.
This week, as I spent time in the book of Ephesians, I began contemplating how I can create more empty spaces in my life to be filled with more of Jesus.
I am quick to fill my coffee-sipping time, my doing-the-dishes time, my music-listening time— all of those micro moments— with trivialities. I may flip through a magazine, listen to a Podcast, or scroll through Instagram. None of those things are bad, in and of themselves, but how much room am I leaving in my life for God if, like a toddler, I quickly fill all my empty spaces with worldly trinkets? I want to create space for the “immeasurable” and “incalculable riches” of grace that are mine in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 1:7, 3:8)
When something is full you probably don’t consciously quantify or measure it because visually there is more than enough, there is overflow, abundance. That is the essence of everything that is Christ Jesus, who is described in Ephesians 1:23 as “the One who fills all things in every way.” How wonderfully satisfying that sounds! No lack, no deficiency.
If Jesus is an unending source of riches— immeasurable riches— the more room I make for Him in my life, the more He will fill it! His beauty, his worth, his goodness are infinite in their proportions and I will spend the rest of eternity marveling and comprehending “what is the length and width, height and depth of God’s love” (Eph 3:18). Paul prays for this exact kind of experiential understanding for the believers at Ephesus and for us, because he knows that when we experience Jesus in a way that “surpasses knowledge” we will “be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph 3:19).
In what ways can I welcome Jesus into the small spaces of my day? Perhaps I can simply close my eyes in front of my coffee and lift up a humble prayer of need. I could incline my heart to worship by playing a Pandora hymns station while I load the dishwasher. I could seize the moment of boredom my children are experiencing and engage them with a Bible story or an attempt at Scripture memory. I could write down an encouraging word for a friend and send an unexpected note. I could bless a neighbor or church member with a meal or baked treat. “For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light— for the fruit of the light results in all goodness, righteousness, and truth— discerning what is pleasing to the Lord.” (Ephesians 5:8-10) Did you catch that promise of immeasurable goodness again? The fruit of light results in “all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” How much goodness can we expect to result from pursuing Christ? All. All goodness. The ridiculousness of that truth blows me away!
We allow our lives to become so stifled by meaninglessness. We fill our days with busyness and self-imposed obligations. We chase the status of happiness the world says we should achieve. We are always questioning if what we have is enough, and we try to find the answer by adding one thing more to see if we feel “full.” What if instead of adding, we took away? What if we made space in the many small moments of our day, and allowed God to fill them? This kind of intentionality requires faith. We need spiritual eyes of faith to see the gain that comes from choosing Christ and the hope we have in Him. Paul prays that the Ephesians would know this: “I pray that the perception of your mind may be enlightened so you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the glorious riches of His inheritance among the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power to us who believe, according to the working of His vast strength” (Ephesians 1:18-19). We have the power that raised Jesus from the grave, actively at work in our hearts, transforming our lives from one degree of holiness to the next! We have the immeasurably great power and vast strength of the One who fills all things in every way, finishing his work in us. His Spirit is near and waiting to invade the dark corners of our hearts.
Imagine the gospel testimony that might be demonstrated through us if we give the Spirit opportunity to take up residence in our hearts in the little spaces of our day. That is when we will experience true fullness in Christ’s eternal, immeasurable, incalculable riches.
“With thee I can live without other things,
for thou art God all-sufficient,
and the glory, peace, rest, joy of the world
is a creaturely, perishing thing
in comparison with thee.
Help me to know that he who hopes for nothing but thee,
and for all things only for thee, hopes truly,
and that I must place all my happiness in holiness
if I hope to be filled with all grace.”
-Valley of Vision, “Fullness”