From where does your fulfillment come? Are you being fulfilled in your life’s purpose? Are you feeling fulfilled in your career or ministry?
When I look up the word fulfilled, one definition says, “the state of being complete“. Years ago, a famous movie had this line: “You complete me.”
There is a promise I meditate on to better understand what it means to be ‘complete.’ It is a prayer the Apostle Paul prayed for the Ephesian church that I have adopted as my own:
I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:16-19, NIV).
Lord, You complete me!
When Paul wrote this letter to the church in Ephesus, he was not addressing any particular error. He wrote this letter to expand the horizons of his readers, so they better understand the dimensions of God’s eternal purpose and grace and come to appreciate the high goals God has for His church!
How do we reach this fullness, this fulfillment we all desire?
First, as the body of Christ—as a born-again believer, we have already received His fullness. As a Christian, it’s Christ in me! “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him (Jesus) to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way” (Ephesians 1:22-23, NIV).
The church is the fullness of Jesus Christ—we are filled with Him—for He fills all things! We are the church!
Second, we have been made alive in Christ. What does this mean? So glad you asked! “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4-5, NIV).
Let’s look at HOW He makes us alive:
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in heavenly realms in Christ Jesus… (Ephesians 2:6, NIV).
Here’s HOW and WHERE we are seated:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3, NIV).
Think about it! Because of our union with Jesus Christ—we, as Christians, have been made beneficiaries of every spiritual blessing that belongs to (and comes from) Heaven. I remind you that a beneficiary is an heir, heiress, recipient of a trust, will or life of another!
We are an heir of Jesus Christ! He has entrusted to us His life and His Kingdom. We are not waiting to receive it—it’s already been given to us! We are recipients of ALL spiritual blessings that belong to (and come from) Heaven!
Jesus has broken down the barriers through His own death. God had something for us beyond this: He united us, His reconciled individuals, as ONE body—His church. Oh, how I love the church! Oh, how important it is to be unified! Make us one, Lord. You already tore down the walls. Why do we keep re-erecting them?
Our meaning, our fullness, our fulfillment, our significance comes from Heaven, where Jesus is exalted at the right hand of God!
We have within us the fullness of Him, Jesus Christ! “Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given” (John 1:16, NIV).
How are we full? How are we fulfilled?
…the fullness of him who fills everything in every way (Ephesians 1:23, NIV). He fulfills everything in every way!
…When He ascended on high, he took many captives and gave gifts to his people. (What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.) So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers… (Ephesians 4:8-11, NIV).
Why? For what reason? …to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-13, NIV).
The whole measure of the fullness of Christ is His perfectly balanced Character! You lack nothing, as a believer in Christ!
It is important that we are prepared for works of service, trained and built up by using the spiritual gifts we have been given. This training, this equipping, is not for us individually but for building the Kingdom of God and for building us together, as well. From him (Jesus) the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work (Ephesians 4:16, NIV).
So what part are you called to?
We have already been given fullness in Christ—He has already been deposited; it’s time to release! For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ephesians 2:10, NIV).
You are a work of art, created by and for God! We are a people, for Jesus. He …gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good (Titus 2:14, NIV).
Are you eager to do good? Here’s what doing good produces: When the Lord takes pleasure in anyone’s way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them (Proverbs 16:7, NIV).
Yes, we are called to “works of service.” But have you ever considered that doing what is good is a work of service? For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man (2 Corinthians 8:21, NIV).
Live such good lives among the pagans (unbelievers) that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us (1 Peter 2:12, NIV). The believer’s good life may influence the unbeliever to believe!
For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people (1 Peter 2:15, NIV).
Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order to provide for urgent needs and not live unproductive lives (Titus 3:14, NIV).
If ever accused of being “goody two-shoes,” you are doing God’s will! When I googled where this term came from, I learned “goody two-shoes” was a virtuous woman. There is a proverb relating to that: A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies (Proverbs 31:10, NIV). Yes, certainly “far more,” for you are seated with Christ in heavenly places…“far more” than one can be!
Embracing His Complete Fullness,
Mary Beth Pecora