I do not want to post these thoughts. This meditation is written for me. If you want to come along down this scary path, you may. It might remind you to pray for me now and then. And you may find something that helps you too.
And if you want to skip this one, feel free to do that. Because it’s longer than normal. And it might seem a little disjointed. That’s the state of my thoughts as the battle goes on.
So here we go.
There is a verse about joy—complete joy—that I have not yet touched. And I haven’t included it thus far because of that constant war between my old self with allegiance only to me and my new self with its allegiance to the Spirit.
The old self doesn’t want to think about this verse because it would mean I have to change and grow—and I’m certain the learning is going to be painful. Wouldn’t it be much easier just to sit in my old habits and complacency?
We find that there is talk in Scriptures of being made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:19)
Wow. I try to imagine what it would be like to live with all the fullness of life and power God can give. I’m guessing it’s beyond anything we can imagine.
And I want that. I want a life like that!
Look at the context of that hope: First, the Spirit starts imbuing my life with His strength. Christ makes His home with me and I learn to trust Him. My roots go down deeper and deeper into God’s love and I’m kept strong.
And I start to understand God’s love. Even though it’s so great I’ll never understand fully, I start to see the depth, the vast proportions of it.
Then I will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God…
This full, abundant, overflowing life seems to be all tied up with God’s love.
This brings me back to that passage I’ve been avoiding. John 15:9-12.
Jesus says, “I’ve told you all these things so you will be filled with overflowing joy. My joy.” And the key to this overflowing joy seems to be to obey His commandment: Love each other as I have loved you.
There’s the rub.
I want the complete, full life. I want the overflowing joy.
I just don’t want to love like Jesus loves.
That is, the old me doesn’t want to.
Loving like that is hard. I would have to learn a lot about loving, and I’m pretty sure God will have to prune me a lot if I agree to learn to love His way.
It’s easier just to stay in my own kingdom and live the way I want, rather than live under this guiding rule of the Kingdom of Heaven.
But I don’t want to live in my own kingdom, according to my own rules. That never ends well.
I am reluctant. Okay, I’m afraid. I am afraid to acquiesce. I am afraid to submit completely and say to the Spirit, “Make me over completely. Teach me how to love like you do.”
But why am I afraid?
Living according to the Spirit brings life and peace.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace…
Ah. The first three fruits listed—those things I so desire—all wrapped up together, intertwined, interdependent. All come because the Spirit has the power to rewire me.
Then you will be made complete with fullness of life and power from God… ALL the fullness!
You will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!
Love each other in the same way I have loved you.
I know where my allegiance, my love, and my longings lie.
It’s just this part of me, Lord, that holds back and says I can’t, I don’t want to…after all, look where loving led You.
Living according to the Spirit brings life and peace … love, joy, peace …
I take comfort reading further in Ephesians 3—and finding that You can do things in me that I can’t even imagine. And I also depend on 2 Corinthians 3:17-18. Your Spirit brings freedom and is daily changing me, making me more and more like You.
To love like You.
Bringing me that fullness of life and power and joy and peace.
You will show me the way of life,
granting me the joy of your presence
and the pleasures of living with you forever.