Thursday, July 21, 2011

That He Might Fill All Things

My life, like the lives of many other people, is full of activities, interests, responsibilities.  Sometimes I worry that this reflects a lack of interest in God and that perhaps my heart is set on the things of this world moreso than on Him.  As I entertained this concern recently, God brought Ephesians 4:10 to mind: “He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.”  As the Lord spoke this verse to my heart, I could see Him filling everything in my life.  Reality under the old covenant (before Christ dealt with sin) was one where God only filled the temple in Jerusalem.  He remained behind the veil while we lived our lives outside of it.  But reality under the new covenant is that Christ fills all things with His resurrection life. 
Despite the divine fact of Christ’s resurrection, we often continue to live our lives according to an old covenant mentality.  My anxiety over the various activities and interests in my life is a classic example of this contradiction.  Subconsciously, I continue to think that I’m “with God” when doing specifically religious activities like praying, going to a church service, or performing ministry.  But when occupied with non-religious activities, I classify that as “not with God” time.  In my own mental universe, I have neatly divided sacred and secular.  I have relegated God to my own, self-styled temple complete with a veil which divides when I am with Him and when I am not.  But this veil is only in my mind, and is the veil of unbelief that persists in the absence of God’s revelation (2 Cor. 3:15-18).  For in Christ, the veil is taken away (2 Cor. 3:14).
            Does this mean that sin and selfishness don’t exist and we can throw caution to the wind?  Not at all.  As we pursue various opportunities and interests each day, what separates a life filled by Christ and a life too full for Christ?  Quite simply, it is the cross that does this.  Before Jesus ascended and filled all things, He descended into the grave.  The filling of all things by Christ’s resurrection life depended on the taking of old things to the grave.  We too must descend into Christ’s grave by the revelation of the Spirit (Rom. 6:3-5).  Our experience must be infused with the reality of the cross by the action of the Spirit.  Otherwise, personal passions and desires will fill everything we do.  But Galatians 5:24 says, “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.”  If, by revelation, the Spirit has brought us to Christ’s cross, and if we have descended with Him, then for us all things will be filled with the Risen One instead of with us.