Receiving from His Fullness (John 1:16)
This was a moment when I saw a verse for the first time, after years of reading over it. In the Gospel According to John, first chapter, and verse 16, there is a wonderful statement about perspective, the Christian distinctive, and how we live in faith.
From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
Boom. This is the sentence that is setting off fireworks in my soul. Salvation, deliverance, encouragement, renewal, and all the things we need from the Father — come from his fullness. God needs no recharge, no rest, no time to fill back up to serve, love, and care for us. He is fullness. Then, verse 17 invites us into more clarity.
The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
Do you see the bridge here? Teaching, instruction, grace, and truth — the first through Moses, the latter through Jesus. These verses offer us some beautiful reminders.
- We are receivers first. The finished work of Jesus is here, always present as an offer and invite to relationship with the Father. I wonder if learning to give before receiving from the finished work hinders us in life and faith.
- Receiving is part of faith. Unlike the Father, we require much for optimal living. Our soul nutrition plans are extensive; we require love, care, community, nutrition, rest, vision, and a way to be fruitful in our giving and giving back. Receiving from Jesus differs from receiving from people, unless we receive from people who give from His fullness. (read that again, aloud if necessary)
- Instruction alone provides no fullness. Can we see and know God, grow in relationship with him, with only the how-tos? Instruction comes from God and gives us structure for living and conducting ourselves among others for a witness. For us to take in and assimilate the teachings though, we need the grace and truth made available when the Word was made flesh.
- We can see the glory of the Father in Christ. Hallelujah! This walk of faith through love provides all we need if we let it. From the fullness of Christ, we see the Lord! Grace and truth work wonders for our senses — they give us a kind of filter for how we see, hear, smell, taste, and touch (or approach) the world around us and the people on our path.
- Grace is the game-changer for faith and love. It can be tough to receive some instructions and some truth. Grace helps us in receiving. I think of Mary Poppins sometimes when I think about grace; a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down. Grace holds us when we want to run from our image in the mirror, and helps us to hear the hard things. Grace reminds us of our bold prayers for transformation into the image of Christ, and says, “Surrender Beloved. I have done the work.”
How do we live from the fullness of Christ? With the blind spot removed, there are several ways we can move away from living on our works alone and into living from the finished work of Jesus.
- Cultivate relationship. This is the ongoing discovery process where we invest in our faith and deepen our love for Christ and people. Paying attention to Him in worship, study, meditation, and active listening are some ways to cultivate relationship. Going to beautiful places to hear creation declare his glory; these things fill our souls and help set Godly perspectives.
- Practice grace. This is an important bridge believers in Jesus need to have clear for travel. Are we filtering our instructions through grace and truth? Are we seeking to employ grace and truth in as many ways as possible? Grace and truth mature us through application of the instructions. Seeing our influence and effect on others can help us practice grace. Spending more time in the mirror — naturally, and in the mirror of the Word — and showing ourselves the grace and truth of Christ makes a difference.
- Enter into his rest. Let our labor be to enter into the rest of Christ. Grace and truth help us to shed the limiting and harmful aspects of instruction alone. Our lives, gifts and time require administration. Administration (boundaries, governing ourselves) makes room for grace and truth. Rest is more than our human need. Rest is part of fullness. We can live wide awake resting in the finished work and fullness of Christ.
If we view our lives as a framed photo on the wall, I want us to step back, pan out and widen our lenses. See more in our lives. See where grace and truth need to touch our lives and fill us. And offer this new view to the Father in prayer, and sit with him, receiving from his fullness. His fullness reminds us that we are not alone on this journey. We are never alone and never lost.
Selah, and love to all.