Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we 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. Ephesians 3:20, 21
Paul writes these soaring words at the close of chapter three of his letter to the church of Ephesus. They clearly point us to a state of knowing beyond the everyday and to a God that so often eludes us. Though to be honest it not God who eludes us, but we who live so that we do not readily notice God much less offer our lives to God’s glory.
. . . And to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:19
What is this knowledge? How do we get filled with it? What would it be like to live a life filled with all the fullness of God? Paul’s wondrously descriptive language easily exceeds our ability to comprehend not because what he is describing is incomprehensible but because such an experience is so foreign to our way of living. Our lives are already filled with our own anxieties, needs and wants. So when we read Paul’s words we immediately start trying to figure out how we can have such an experience of God. How can we experience the fullness of God? Such questions turn us toward striving and yearning for an experience of God that most of our lives do not have the time, space or priorities to experience. We cannot help but be frustrated. So finding ourselves frustrated we leave off our consideration of these words before we ever get to the point of considering what the implications of living a life filled with God’s fullness might mean for us.
Filled with such love, how would we live? Filled with the fullness of God, how would we consider the needs of those who are hungry, homeless or lacking adequate health care? Knowing a love that surpasses knowledge, what we would do for those on the margins of society?
Striving humans that we are our experience of God is always incomplete. There is always more of God for us to know and to experience. So then the question becomes what difference does what we have experienced of God make in the way we live our lives, look at the world around us and treat the people who share this planet with us? Is our experience of God such that it resembles the other selfish indulgences in our lives? That is to say is our experience of God just about us, our salvation, our blessings and ourselves? Has our experience with God left us full of God or full of ourselves?
When Paul writes about being filled to the measure with all the fullness of God he is describing an intensely intimate and personal relationship with God, but it is not a self-centered relationship nor consumed only by personal considerations. No, to be filled with God’s fullness is see more as God sees and love more as God loves. Understanding and tenderness flow from such fullness. Mercy and Compassion are its fruit.