For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
Ephesians 3:14-19 (ESV)
What is the fullness of God? It is his glory; everything that makes God what he is, his attributes. His attributes are his nature or character. By nature God is holy, faithful, compassionate, loving, merciful, patient, gentle, gracious and everything ascribed to him in scripture. Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be full of everything that makes God, God.
How do we get filled with the fullness of God? We get it through Christ. Paul wrote about Jesus, For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily, and you have been filled in him, who is the head of all rule and authority. (Colossians 2:9-10 ESV) If we have believed on Christ he dwells in our hearts (Galatians 4:6; Romans 8:9). As a result, we have been filled with the fullness of God because the fullness of God dwells in Christ (Colossians 1:19). So, Paul is praying for the fullness of God to become evident in the lives of the Ephesians, and by proxy our lives as well.
Though we are already filled with the fullness of God there is a process involved for it to become evident or work itself out in our lives. Paul touched on it earlier in his prayer when he prayed that Christ would dwell or “be at home” in our hearts. The process is called sanctification or we might say “growing up” (Ephesians 4:15-16; 1 Peter 2:2; 2 Peter 3:18). The recipe for growing up is found in God’s word. We must be obedient to God’s word if we want our character to portray his character. Also, the testing of our faith through various trials works the fullness or completeness of God’s character in us (James 1:2-4; Romans 5:3-5).
We aren’t hopeless in this process of growing up. Peter wrote, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV) It is by God’s divine power and his precious and very great promises found in scripture that we are enabled to be partakers of his divine nature, which is his fullness. He has also given us spiritual leaders to equip us for ministry and build us up until we attain to the measure of the stature (mature manhood) of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-14).
In essence Paul prayed that the Ephesians would be crammed full with God to completion; in other words, that the fullness of God in them would be evident or displayed through their character.
Do you desire to be crammed full with God so that his character is displayed by how you live?
Scriptures for meditation: