One thing is certain with children: if you give them an empty space, they will fill it. A trinket box, a satchel, a plastic egg or an envelope, a child’s imagination knows no limits when it comes to the things they find to fill that space.
This week, as I spent time in Ephesians, I realized I am a lot like a child when it comes to the empty space in my life.
My coffee-sipping time, my doing-the-dishes time, my music-listening time— all of those micro moments— I am quick to fill with trivialities. A magazine, a podcast, Instagram— while none of these things are bad, in and of themselves, how much room do they leave for more Jesus?
Like a toddler, I eagerly fill my empty spaces with worldly trinkets. I have no room left for genuine treasure.
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 don’t bother to quantify or measure it because visually there is more than enough, there is overflow, abundance. That is the essence of Christ Jesus, described in Ephesians 1:23 as the One who fills all things in every way. How wonderfully satisfying that sounds! No lack. No deficiency.
Jesus is an unending source of immeasurable riches. The more room I make for Him in my life, the more He will fill it! His beauty, worth, and goodness are infinite in their proportions. We could 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 experiential understanding because he knows that when we truly see Jesus in a way that “surpasses knowledge” we will “be filled with all the fullness of God” as we are transformed into His likeness (Eph 3:19).
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 hymns playlist 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 overflow again? The fruit of light results in “all goodness, righteousness, and truth.” How much goodness can we expect to result from pursuing Christ? All of it. All the goodness we can conceive of, gushing out of us, as the Holy Spirit fills us continually. The ridiculousness of that truth blows me away!
We allow our lives to become stifled by meaninglessness. We fill our days with busyness and self-imposed obligations. We chase the happiness the world advertises and affirms. We question if what we have is enough, and we look for the answer by adding one more thing.
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 to see the gain that comes from choosing Christ. Paul prays that God’s people would have this supernatural perception:
“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 us from one degree of holiness to the next! God intends to finish His work in us, and He will assuredly invade any corner of our life that we willing surrender to Him.
“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”