You anoint my head with oil; my [brimming] cup runs over. (Psalm 23:5, AMP)
In the Charismatic (and maybe other) parts of the church, we always seem to be focusing on “getting more”. This mindset that we are lacking and vulnerable and need to get God to do something robs us of the true New Covenant existence.
We tend to think in terms of how to get rather than how to give. While I definitely believe in getting alone with God and basking in His presence, I think there is a whole lot to releasing what is already in us that we need to tap into.
In everyone’s favorite book of the Bible, the letter to Philemon, Paul desires, that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus (vs.6).
Other translations render the phrase “sharing of your faith” as “the communication of your faith” or “the fellowship of your faith”. It basically is saying that when we acknowledge the good things that ARE IN us in Christ, they come OUT!
To the Colossians, Paul gives some very simple instructions on the Christian growth we are truly longing for:
And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness (Col. 2:6-7, NLT).
How did we receive Him? By faith. So what now? Continue in faith. Let the roots of your faith sink down into Him and walk in Him. The NASB translation says, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith. What is the result? We will “overflow with thankfulness”. I believe that the good works we are called to is part of this overflow. I’m so thankful, I just want to love everybody and give away all my stuff! I just want to tell of how wonderful my Jesus is!
It does not say we will become more and more like needy, greedy beggars as we grow in Christ. But we are obsessed it seems with things like “growing in hunger and desperation”. We think this is what our Father wants, yet if a good ol’ Christian family incorporated this into their home-school goals for the year, the social services would show up at their door.
I know that Jesus said blessed are those who hunger and thirst, thank you. But He said …for righteousness and then He says very simply, “for they shall be filled”. We have been given the gift of righteousness in Christ, right? So we have this righteousness then. Before the Kingdom came to Earth and God’s people were under law, yeah… pretty good idea to hunger for the righteousness that comes as a gift.
So does that mean we become lazy bums who don’t hunger for righteousness anymore? Well, it depends on how you view this? We are always to anticipate a glorious “harvest of righteousness” where we see the fruit of being in Christ and will follow the Spirit’s promptings toward expressions of righteousness.
For we, [not relying on the Law but] through the [Holy] Spirit’s [help], by faith anticipate and wait for the blessing and good for which our righteousness and right standing with God [our conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action, causes us] to hope (Galatians 5:5, AMP).
Notice that Paul prayed for the Philippians that they would be filled with the FRUIT OF righteousness not that they WOULD BECOME righteous.
And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Phil. 1:9-11).
Desperation or Satisfaction?
Back to hungering and thirsting. Let’s look at some other things Jesus said about this.
…but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life (John 4:14).
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst (John 6:35).”
Funny how at all of these revival/repentance fests they mention Jesus’ words about hungering and thirsting but don’t seem to mention the being satisfied part. I guess being filled and satisfied is not too good for the revival business 🙂
The Drink That Keeps On Giving
So in John 4 Jesus talks about the drink that will become a well of eternal life in us when we receive Him. In John 7, He mentions how believers will have a river of living water flowing from them.
Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (John 7:37-39).
So this drink will turn into a river. What we have received will be what we give away. Jesus was talking about the Spirit flowing out but we tend to think we need to receive the Spirit all over again every day or that “the dove flies away” anytime we do something non-spiritual-like. But the Holy Spirit is a Person and Jesus said He will be with us forever (John 14:17).
In Revelation, it talks about a pure river of life that proceeds from the throne of God and the Lamb. Friends, Christ is not only in heaven seated next to the Father, but is enthroned in our hearts. Therefore this river, the Holy Spirit, whom Jesus was given to bestow after He was glorified, now flows from us! We are the temple, representing heaven, on Earth.
Releasing The Glory
Lately, I have noticed how sometimes when I pray, it does not feel as much as if I am shouting requests up to God, but releasing Christ out from within. I am not doing some super-spiritual looking discipline, but just praying or praising God in faith.
Christ is ALREADY in us, and I have noticed how we release Him into the atmosphere, sometimes by just talking about Him. Is this not what it says in Philemon as I spoke about earlier? It is the acknowledgment of every good thing we have in Christ. Sometimes it feels that if I keep silent, I will burst. We cry for God to fill and enter us, but He is crying to get out! How refreshing it is to release God; not just ‘be filled’ so to speak.
What would it look like if believers started living more out of a place of overflow then need? The Bible says that this happens just through simple faith. But when we have all of these hyped up revival meetings which make it seem like we need to shout and repent Jesus out of Heaven, we are distracted from the simplicity of Christ. So I pray that God would help us to walk in overflow and that our well would become a river; that we would not be conscious of our need, but of His presence inside and flowing out of us.