Maybe I’m lazy, but I like pulling into a full-service station. They cheerfully fill my fuel tank, check the oil, and wash my windows. It feels a bit luxurious at the best of times, but even more so when the temperature dips low and wind blows hard.
I never let the fuel gauge reach the critical red zone, edging toward empty. Only once, in all the years of driving, did I ignore when the warning light flashed, signaling the urgent need to refuel. I remember how relieved I was to safely make it to the next fuel stop.
I’d far rather experience that “full” feeling over the “empty” one. The joy of our home full of family and friends, the comfort of a full stomach after a hearty meal, or a life full of peace and joy, all symbolize the rich blessing of God.
Yet, I often push myself physically, emotionally, and even spiritually into the red danger zone. Just like with my car, I then have a limited capacity to proceed much farther before my “engine” slows to sputtering stop. And just like with my car, I need to take serious action to refuel and refill.
Filled with God
“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.”
I don’t expect to eat a single meal and expect my body to survive long. Yet, as Christians we might be tempted to take one taste of God and say, “That’s enough for me!”
Later, in the same letter Paul instructed the Ephesian Christians,
“Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
The Greek word for “be filled” means to continuously be filled. It’s an ongoing action, rather than a one-time fix. If I want to go the full distance, I need to slow down enough for the Holy Spirit to fill my internal fuel tank. In Scripture, to be filled means “to be made full, to occupy to full capacity, to satiate or satisfy, and to have plenty.
Filling my fuel tank with the wrong liquid will destroy my car’s engine. I, too, must also be sure to refill with the right commodity — the Holy Spirit.
Once, Jesus’ future disciples fished all night without catching a single fish. Jesus came, telling them to throw their nets over the other side of the boat? Immediately, fish rushed into their nets, filling them to overflowing capacity. Their once sturdy nets began to break. Now, that’s God’s definition of being filled!
God is Full
An empty cupboard lacks the contents to fill my hungry stomach. An empty service station can’t provide me with the fuel I need for my vehicle. In contrast, we come to a God who exemplifies the meaning of full!
“The LORD passed in front of Moses, calling out, “Yahweh! The LORD! The God of compassion and mercy! I am slow to anger and filled with unfailing love and faithfulness.“
Exodus 34:6 NLT
Out of His fullness, He stands ever ready to fill those who come to Him.
“He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
Psalm 103:5 NLT
Whatever our lack, wherever our emptiness, whatever our need, our loving, compassionate, and faithful God desires to fill us to maximum capacity — unable to contain one ounce more of His blessing. Renewed in Him, we rise like eagles!
Fill My Fuel Tank
After pulling into a service station, I could turn off my engine, waiting for hours for the fuel gauge to move upward. I must have an expectation and a willingness to receive the fuel I need after asking for it. I always need to clearly ask for the type and amount of fuel I desire. However, I sometimes come to God, driving up in prayer, parking for a few moments, hours, or even days, and leaving just as empty as I came.
God has been challenging me lately about my low level of expectation. I approach God with a high level of expectation that He will meet the needs of others. Yet at other times, I possess a much lower level of expectation that He will do the same for me.
We must come with an expectation of receiving what we ask for. The good news is that we don’t need to empty our wallets or fix a long list of faults to come to Him. Jesus already paid a huge price to give us ready access to the Father.
Here is a reminder of a few nuggets of what God has available:
- Joy, peace, and hope
“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Romans 15:13 NLT
“And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.”
Romans 5:5 NLT
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Filled to Overflowing
Living “full” prepares us for every situation ahead. Jesus began and lived His ministry full of the Holy Spirit. He often withdrew for concentrated times of prayer and communion with the Father, continually being filled and refilled.
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, left the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness …”
Jesus was every bit human. He experienced every human temptation and faced every human weakness. Yet even robed in full humanity, He lived victoriously. We cannot expect to live triumphantly while running on empty!
Again, we hear Paul instruct both the Ephesian church and us,
“Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.”
God has given us everything we need. It is up to us to apply it. As we learn how to regularly refuel in the Holy Spirit, we will experience everything God has for us. Do you want to be “full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone (Colossians 4:5-6)?” Would you like to experience “full restoration” with God and others to “encourage one another, being of one mind, living in peace. And knowing the God of love and peace will be with you (2 Corinthians 13:11).”
God has made it available for you! He offers it to me! May the desire of our hearts be, “Lord, through the Holy Spirit, fill my fuel tank — today, tomorrow, and always!”