Is the Discipline of Fullness Working in You?
Principle Scriptures on the Discipline of Fullness: Psalm 40:17; Joel 2:26; Matthew 5: 6; 6:33-34; John 3:5; 4:13-14; 6:35; Galatians 2:20-21; 5:15-21; Ephesians 5:15-21; Colossians 1:1-23; 2:9-10; 2 Timothy 1:12; James 1:22-25; 1 John 4:19
Here is how you can find out. Take a careful look at this Discipline of Fullness from God's most precious Word by examining your life and the passages above. Now ask yourself:
1. How do I exhibit a life of fullness in my daily life now?
2. How can I develop the willingness to be a more disciplined person who will realize I am filled by Christ?
3. What blocks fullness from working and being exhibited in me?
4. How can I initiate fullness, and discipline myself to carry it out?
5. What can I do to make fullness function better, stronger, and faster, even in times of uncertainty and stress?
· Here are positive examples from Scripture: John 14:23; Rom. 8:9-11; Eph. 3:14-19; 4:18-19; Col. 2: 9-10; 1 Tim. 1:14
· Here are negative examples from Scripture: John 14:24; Acts 5:3-9; Rom. 8:5-8; Eph. 4:14, 15-17; Col. 2:8; 1 Tim. 4:1; James 1:6
The Discipline of Fullness means we are filled with Christ and ruled by Christ. For a Christian, fullness is first seeking Christ and His work in us, so we are pursuing righteousness, and all that is good, as a way to glorify Christ as Lord. This means we are more Christ-aware and less self-aware. Fullness equals personally knowing for certain who we are in Christ, and what He did for us on the Cross-that our confidence comes from knowing who we are as complete in Him! As a result, we become more disciplined in His encompassing power and His influence that has transformed us and is manifested in us. As a discipline, this means we are to live our lives complete in Christ alone, so we display His character and call. We have access to Christ as we live our lives; it is not about me. I am here to serve a God who transcends me and all that I can ever know or pursue. He is bigger and better than I, and He has a bigger and better plan than I. Thus, I can trust in my Lord to lead me, fill me, and use me.
What Fullness is not is the seeking of some supernatural work as a guide and motivation, when we are already complete in Christ. Nor is it about "signs and wonders." Although miracles are great and are for today, they are merely signs pointing to the real work, which is Christ's transforming presence-not the work in and of itself.
What happens when we do not practice this discipline? We will seek the opposite, which is seeking to only see things from our perspective and reality and thus ignoring our Lord and what He has for us. This means we will not fully trust in Christ, and we will lead our lives as we see fit. This choice leads to dysfunction and strife, self-pity, bitterness and anger, resentment, and disillusionment! Why would anyone want that? Well, it seems we all do when we live a life as we want, and not as He has called (Eph. 5:15-17). When we get it, and understand and practice this Discipline of Fullness, we will get ourselves properly lined up with God and His Will, and a whole new world opens up to us. We will build the right character, maturity, and mindset. We will seek to serve Christ and not see the world, the church, and/or our families as servants to cater to us; rather, we wee that we are servants of Christ collectively, working together for a greater goal and purpose that is beyond us and glorifying to Him. Then, His plan starts to become clear as we become more comfortable, are more able to make the right choices in our lives, and can lead a life with purpose and reason filled with His joy by doing His call while positively impacting others around us with good character and His Fruit.
1. How would you define the Discipline of Fullness? Are you a person who desires to be filled with Christ, or with your own vision and agenda?
2. What part does fullness play in your relationships with church members, friends, coworkers, and family? What does being filled with Christ mean to you? How do you practice it? How should you?
3. How does focusing on what we want, and thinking that people are here to serve us counteract God's call? What is the cost to the Kingdom of God when Christians refuse to surrender to Christ as Lord?
4. What happens when your church does not engage in fullness or teach and encourage its people to be filled with Christ as their rule and meaning?
5. What happens to your relationship with God, with others, and with the opportunities God gives you when you refuse to lead your life by the desires and ways of the Word?
6. When have you exercised fullness the most? What is the difference between fullness and fulfillment?
7. In what situation did you fail to engage in fullness when you should have? What does it mean to your dally life with its stresses that you are complete in Him?
8. What selfish desires do you struggle with the most? What gets in your way, keeping you from pursuing righteousness?
9. How would fullness help you in distinguishing between what is bad and what is good in life? What would real, authentic fullness look like in your life?
10. What issue is in your life that would improve with more fullness?
11. Take the time to see how much of your confidence comes from knowing that you are filled with the Living Spirit of the Lord of the universe? What do you need to do to raise your confidence? How does fullness play out here?
12. Think through the steps that you need to take to put fullness into action in a specific instance. For example, how can you use this Discipline of Fullness to improve your confidence, leadership ability, parenting, spiritual life, and/or relationship with Christ and others? We serve a God who transcends us and all that we can ever know or pursue. So, what can you do to realize and apply more of the reality that He is bigger and better that you, and has a bigger and better plan for you? What will this mean in your daily life? How can you trust in your Lord to lead you, fill you, and use you in whatever situation you may encounter? In so doing, you would live your life as you are complete in Christ alone so you can better display His character and call.
As Christians, we are deeply loved by God; as a result, we are filled with the fullness of God. However, this does not mean we are divine or little gods; it means that we are indwelt by Christ and Holy Spirit. Fullness equals knowing who you are in Christ and what He did for you on the cross. This is paramount, because everything you do as a Christian is a response to what He has first done in you. With this knowledge, you will have the proper attitude and discernment to make correct decisions based on God's will. With this knowledge, you will ask the right questions and look for fullness, not merely fulfillment in life! The difference is that fullness is seeking Christ as Lord; fulfillment is seeking someone or something to meet your needs and wishes, or seeking to fill your own desires, agendas, and lusts! Fulfillment is seeking what we want, and that often is not the best for us. It is filling our emptiness with the wrong filler. It is much like putting gasoline in a diesel-fueled truck; it is fuel, but it will not work, and will even damage the engine. These passages testify to such as this. Sin and the desires of our lust can, and will consume us, taking us far away from God and His goodness. So, this pursuit of fulfillment will end up bringing us nothing but emptiness, the very thing we are trying to avoid. Sin will dig into us, causing our thinking to be skewed and our decisions flawed.
Fullness is the filling we have. It is like we are "Twinkies" and He is the filling; Twinkies (a yellow sponge cake with a creamy frosting filling) are not much without the filling! It is the realization that we are missing our filling and we are indeed poor in spirit. Being poor may conjure up ideas of physical and social poverty, but it actually means being totally dependent on God and realizing our sinfulness! It is the realization that we are sinners without any righteousness of our own. We are saved by the grace and mercy of God alone! Poor in spirit applies to our daily lives as we strive to be humble and surrendered, where we do not look to ourselves, but to God. It is having a Christ-centered drive rather than a self-centered drive to life and relationships; it is the "letting go and letting God" concept. So, we are able to see through our poverty and discover that it is much better to be in Christ and His fullness than to be in ourselves. It is letting go of our ways to surrender to His Way! In the preface to this Matthew passage are the words blessed or happy, which mean we are fortunate to realize who we are in Christ. We are overjoyed because of what Christ has done for us and this gives us our fullness; He is our fullness (Matt. 5:3, 6; 6:33-34; 7:13-14; 13:40-43; 16:24-27; 25:31-34; 28:18; John 8:32). We rejoice because we are a part of His Kingdom. See how this all fits together? The cure for physical and/or spiritual poverty is the realization of what really is important, and who we are in Christ! How do I know I am filled? Humbleness is the fruit that shows fullness has taken hold in our lives.
Ephesians 5:15-21 gives us a picture of walking in that fullness, as people who are wise in the ways of the Lord are also on their guard against the ways of the world and their own sinful selves. We are to be careful how we live so we treat our lives and the lives of others with dignity and respect. We ought not to be careless with what is precious. We are to make the most of our lives and the opportunities He gives us. To waste life away is what a fool would do; so, let us not be fools! When we understand what the Lord wants us to do-and, by the way, this is not difficult (seek, Him, place Christ first)¯we will do well in life. It is not difficult because God is concerned with our character. We form our character from understanding and putting into practice this fullness.
Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Verse 18 tells us that we need to be filled with the Spirit, which means having great joy from our commitment to God (Nehemiah 8:10). It also means we are to seek His power with joy for the overcoming of our sins and for the courage to witness and do ministry, even to people we do not like. This will flow into an attitude of radiant joy that fills us up with the joy that flows among the Persons of the Holy Trinity. That very love which God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit have for one another will be in us. And, it will overflow from us to others around us! If we follow the first part of verse eighteen, we will miss out on what Christ has, because our purpose and direction will become cemented in sin, and not in Him.
This joy, spoken of in Ephesians, will become sealed in us as we mature in the faith and are filled with His Word. It is the power to enjoy Him, both in worship and as a lifestyle that affects all aspects of our life and the lives of others around us. It then empowers us for His service and for His glory. It literally means music flowing from our hearts!
Fullness creates joy. This is what fuels our friendships, our search to find our love, and in making the right decisions. This is what we are to seek so it can be repeated; we are not to seek it for our betterment or attention to ourselves, but rather, for Christ's sake! It is a fullness with which we are to be completely filled. This translates into joy that comes from being in His Word, and because we are in Christ! This is the extra power He gives us to glorify and serve Him, and the extra power that we need to make sure we are on the right track!
Fullness happens when we accept Him; the more we grow in Christ, the more we are filled in and by Him and the Holy Spirit. This also comes down to a choice to be filled more or filled less. Will you be controlled by drunkenness, which is any kind of sin that takes you away from God? Or, will you allow yourself to be controlled by the Spirit? Remember, He does not force you; the choice is yours-and so are the consequences and rewards. We can either ruin our lives or grow in fullness. Also, remember that what you do does not affect just you, but will touch all those around you, too.
When we seek to fill our life up with the wrong things, the filling is straw and does not last very long. We can experience depression, meaninglessness, guilt, distorted thinking, fantasy, and/or excess cares to the point that it leads to a codependency on our agendas, sin, and others who are bad for us. Any of these aspects can take us far off God's path. The feeling of isolation and loneliness (even if you are successful in life, it can be lonely at the top) can be a warning light that shows us we are empty and need to be filled up. It is universal; it goes across culture, race, creed, and status. Our lives cannot be successfully filled by money, possessions, sex, power, or fame for long. Nor, can our emptiness or lust for power and control be filled by a whole lot of just loose associations or a filling that is wrong. All this does is take His fullness and replace it with fulfillment, the wrong filler for our lives. This means we seek to be filled by what we think are assets of power or being in a certain someone's company, usually the wrong company. However, our real fullness comes from His company and the company of godly others partnering for the glory of His Kingdom.
When we are operating our lives in God's parameters, we are glorifying Him, building His Kingdom, and living in fullness. When we are steeped in our pride, we are destroying our relationships and bringing shame to His church. Why would we want to do that and take on all of the bitterness, resentment, hurt, and frustration in life, when we can have so much more?
Remember these essential questions: What does it mean to be a mature Christian? What am I willing to do about it? The key aspect in helping you improve yourself and your character will be how much time you spend in improving your spiritual life! This is what builds the fullness, character, and love we have that are the prime aspects of living a Disciplined Life! For a how to on this, see the article, "How to Build Your Faith" at Discipleship Essentials!
· Understand who Christ is and what He did for you!
· Understand that God loves you and wants your life to have purpose and meaning. God so loved________ that he gave his only Son, that when ___________believes in Him, he/she should not perish, but have everlasting life (Insert your name in the blanks). You may ask, If this is true, why is it that not everyone has a happy and meaningful life? It is because most people do not put it into practice!
· Understand that this does not just happen. You have to work at it; you have to grow in your faith and maturity. You cannot do this alone. Allow the Spirit to work in you, and allow others to sharpen you!
If we only seek what we can get out of life, thinking that everyone is here to serve us, we will fail and end up in despair! We will not be able to build quality relationships, serve our Lord, or be a benefit to one another because we are not seeking to bring ourselves into the relationships as much as we are seeking to take or get from them. What we bring must come out of a life filled with Christ. Whether we are in ministry professionally or not, married or not, a student starting out or someone ready for retirement, we all have the same job-to know Christ, to grow in Christ, and get the word out about the Word.
To build an effective character and a disciplined life, we need to be willing and able to live our lives for Christ fully, knowing we are truly filled and empowered by Him. We need to have the loved-based, character-infused life that understands fullness, which will also produce the affection of His Fruit. This is what flows from our devotion and worship of Christ and the practice of our Fruit with one another. In a nutshell, these Fruits come best from a life that is poured out, filled by, and focused upon Christ as LORD!
More Scriptures on Fullness: Psalm 9:18; 37:4; 40:17; 86:1; 107:9; 109:22; Jeremiah 22:15-16; 31:14; Joel 2:26; Mark 7:1-13; Matthew 5:3, 6; 6:33-34; 7:13-14; 13:40-43; 16:24-27; 25:31-34; 28:18; John 4:13-14; 6:35; Romans 6: 12, 19-23; 8:32; 9:30-31; Galatians 2:20-21; 5:19-21; Ephesians 5: 15-21; Colossians 1:1-23; 15:23-28; 2 Timothy 1: 12,18; 4:8; 2 Peter 1:10-11; 3:10-13; James 1:22-25; Revelation 1:9; 21:1-22:5