I love it when we sing, “Fill Me Up, Lord.” It’s simple and interactive:
God provides the Fire, I provide the sacrifice; according to Romans 12:1, “a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”*
He provides the Spirit, and I allow Him entrance, lordship, and communion into every area of my life. Galatians 4:6 states, “Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying ‘Abba, Father!'” And so when we sing – and pray – fill me up, Lord, overflow, permeate all my soul…we sow into spiritual reality. Paul wrote to the Galatians, “…the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal. 6:8) As defined by Jesus, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3)
We are all in a state of growing-in-knowing Him, in the eternal. And sometimes we are the ones who throw stumbling blocks right in our own pathway.
Earlier in Galatians 6, Paul had taught, “Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the Law of Christ.”(Gal. 6:1-2)
I looked up the word “trespass” and discovered a new dimension to familiar words. As both a noun and a verb, the definition was “enter the owner’s land or property without permission.” (Google dictionary online) While synonyms listed include “sin, transgress, offend, wrongdoing, misdeed” and others, this distinction between “trespass” and its word-cousins is more than a word-nerd distinction. At least I think it is.
“Enter the owner’s land or property without permission.” Paul is, after all, addressing Kingdom people, those indwelt by the Spirit of God, those seeking to know the Father and Jesus, His Son. These are people who have inherited the Kingdom and are learning how to live, reflecting that reality. Just as we are.
For the sake of clarity, I’m going to expand Paul’s statement to read, “if anyone is caught in any owner’s land or property without permission, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness.” The question that came to me, as I read that Scripture in light of the “trespass” definition was, whose permission are we talking about….the owner’s? Or could it be that the “anyone” that Paul talks about had entered a “land” without the Father’s permission?
I’m going to venture a thought that is worth kicking around: the “land or property” that can be entered, without the Father’s permission, is the land of unbelief. And its owner is us. Its gardener is us. Its fence-maker, waterer, tiller, aerator- each of us, individually, and as part of the Body of Christ, corporately.
In Matthew 17:20, Jesus tells His disciples in private that a demon had not been driven out through their prayers “Because of the littleness of your faith.” In a time of fellowship with His disciples after His Resurrection, the Gospel of Mark records that Jesus, “… reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart.”
I have thought of “trespass” in terms of its synonyms, not its definition. Therefore Paul’s next concern, that you should be “looking to yourself so that you too will not be tempted” was an admonition not to fall into the same sort of sin, wrongdoing, etc., as the “anyone caught in any trespass.” Perhaps it is an admonition not to be tempted to enter any gateway leading to the hard soil of unbelief, to hold fast to faith and pursuit, encouraging the brethren likewise. This would be consistent with I Thessalonians 5, in which Paul teaches, “but since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation…therefore encourage one another and build up one another…” (I Thess 5:8,11)
This would also be consistent with Romans 15, in which Paul teaches, “Now we who are strong ought to bear the weaknesses of those without strength and not just please ourselves. Each of us is to please his neighbor for his good, to his edification. For even Christ did not please Himself…now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus, so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Rom. 15:1-3,5-6)
It is so doggone easy to be sin-conscious, shortcoming-conscious , fear-conscious, suspicious of one another and even of ourselves, instead of Kingdom-conscious, Presence-conscious, love-conscious, new creation-conscious, God-is-for-us-conscious.
And this brings me back to where I started: the problem with ‘living sacrifices,’ as the joke goes, is that they lay themselves down on His altar….and hop right back up again before anything can happen.
Love of God….overflow….permeate all my soul….fill me up, Lord, fill me up…..so that I may lay myself down in you….and stay there….
(*All Scriptures in NASB unless otherwise stated)