To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:19—NKJV)

We think of fullness in many ways. When you hear “fullness,” your first thought is most likely of the bloated feeling that hits you after overeating a favorite meal, like that wonderful Thanksgiving dinner. But fullness has many other nuances. Our society uses the term to describe people and their personalities. Have you ever heard of someone referred to as a person full of mischief, full of courage, full of criticism, or full of life?

With such a breadth of meaning, it is no wonder that our verse may raise a question or two for you. If biblical fullness is like overeating then there are serious problems for you in this verse. Just considering the infinity of God, His filling the universe, what must it be for little old you to be filled with the One who fills the universe? Wouldn’t you explode? How is the verse possible, or is there another meaning to be considered?

Perhaps the closest we come to the idea of the word in the text is when you describe someone as having had a “full” life. By the expression you are trying to say that in a tally of his life he did not miss out on any experience or satisfaction common to mankind. Every available slot was filled.

This fullness is akin to opening your power drill case and finding every slot of each dimension filled with a new drill bit. You know the disappointment of going to the kit, needing a particular size bit for a job, you look at the spot of the size you need and there is a substandard, dull bit taking up the space, or worse yet, nothing there at all—just an empty slot.

The sense of the Bible text is that the believer will be fully equipped, having a completed checklist of supplies, every date on the calendar checked off, every step in the process fully accomplished, and the order filled. Philippians 4:19 states, “And my God shall supply [fill] all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The idea of “fullness” is not so much mystical as it is numerical.

Such is the case with Colossians 1:19 and 2:9 speaking of the fullness of God in Christ, “in Him all the fullness should dwell” and “for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” Paul was countering a pagan misconception of his day in which they thought that God’s attributes could be divided up and parceled out to various emanations and that Jesus was something of a lesser god. Unequivocally Jesus is fully God and fully human. There is nothing missing from the fullness of Deity of Christ.

John 1:16 states, “and of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace.” John is teaching that out of the fullness in Christ all believers have received the benefit of mercies and graces richly available from God. Because of Christ’s fullness, “all Christians equally and indifferently, all believers at large, have received…unsparingly, in the largest measure, grace upon grace, accumulated grace, or rather grace following in constant succession, grace for grace.” (John Parkhurst) Simple truth, and yet stunningly sublime!

Even what it means to be filled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) comes forth from the mystical shadows and we find it simply means for the believer to turn more and more of his life over to the influence of God by filling each day with Spirit led decisions, filling every slot.

Can someone say that you are living a full life for God, filling every available slot with dedication to the Lord so that no spots are left to self? Is every slot of the fruit of the Spirit in your life filled? Are the “excellencies” of Christ fully evidenced in you? Are you living a spiritually full life? Trust and obey.