Are you taking full advantage of the life that
16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
I’m currently twenty minutes into working on this devotional, which means I’ve stared at a blank screen for eighteen and typed for two (I’m just happy I’m typing now), and as of this exact moment it has been four days since my grandmother passed away. Honestly, I’m just now realizing how hard it is to sum up someone’s entire character and significance, so I’ll just say this: Bocha left absolutely no room for me to ever doubt how much she loved me. She was hilariously unconventional, inspiringly resilient, and above all else, genuinely loving— in her own unique way.
I’ve been told she once tied me to the kitchen table by the ankle just three hours into babysitting and chasing me around the house, but honestly that just makes me love her even more. All that to say, these last couple of days have been full of remembering and cherishing the countless memories I have with her, and don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten this is a devotional, this is going somewhere, I promise.
From as early as I can remember, HomeTown Buffet or “Town-Town” as she called it, had always been her all-time favorite place to eat. Perhaps it’s the reminder of the fickleness of life after the passing of my grandma, this wonderful new season of life my wife and I find ourselves in, or a combination of both, but I’m starting to realize life is a lot like HomeTown Buffet. Specifically life with Jesus.
Now, I don’t know about you, but usually when I hit a buffet I like to get my money’s worth. I can promise you, you won’t find me at the salad bar (sorry to all my salad-loving friends) or waiting in line for fries and chicken tenders— I’m grabbing me some steak. My mission is clear: go for the good stuff. I’m talking prime rib and tri-tip. Lobster and crab. If I’m not on first-name basis with the guy carving the honey baked ham by the end of dinner, my buffet experience was unsuccessful.
Now of course your favorite dish may differ from mine, but we can all agree, we’re not walking back to our table with chicken nuggets on our plate when we have ribeyes on the menu. Not that there’s anything wrong with chicken nuggets, we just know exponentially better options have been made available to us.
You know where I’m going with this, I know it’s a silly metaphor but bear with me. In this glorious, endless buffet of life with God, full of everything from grace for our sins to a generous invitation into a living, breathing relationship with the Creator of the universe, everything on the menu has been made available to you.
2 Peter 1:3-4
3 By his divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know him, the one who called us to himself by means of his marvelous glory and excellence. 4 And because of his glory and excellence, he has given us great and precious promises. These are the promises that enable you to share his divine nature and escape the world’s corruption caused by human desires.
There isn’t a tier system based on how much you paid to get in, in fact, everyone’s bill was paid for before they even stepped into the building. Nobody has to worry about managing how many points they’ve accrued on a rewards program. Absolutely everything has been made available to everyone who’s holding a plate. So I suppose what I’m trying to say is this: don’t settle for the nuggets. It’s easy to get caught in a cycle of eating well enough, standing right back up, walking to the closest, most conveniently-placed bar, filling our plate with french fries, and repeating the cycle. What if I told you that if you just walked a couple of yards past those first set of options, you’d experience things you never could’ve imagined. Run past the appetizers and go straight for the delicacies! It’s time for filet mignon folks! We know the type of life God offers, and it looks so much better than the one the enemy does.
The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.
Friend, God is desiring for you to live far above the status quo. Not because it’s something you have to do in order to earn His love, rather because it’s the gift of fullness He’s prepared for you! A close relationship with our heavenly Father is synonymous with living fully. It’s a cause and effect type of thing. Proximity to the source of absolute fullness leads to fullness within ourselves each and every time. HE is the alpha and omega, beginning and the end— the absolute epitome of fullness.
15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.
When we have a genuine encounter with God, an invitation into FULLY living is extended to every single one of us. In the book of Mark we meet a man named Bartimaeus, and his story describes this idea perfectly.
46 Jesus and his disciples went to Jericho. And as they were leaving, they were followed by a large crowd. A blind beggar by the name of Bartimaeus son of Timaeus was sitting beside the road. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus from Nazareth, he shouted, “Jesus, Son of David, have pity on me!” 48 Many people told the man to stop, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, have pity on me!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him over!” They called out to the blind man and said, “Don’t be afraid! Come on! He is calling
for you.” 50 The man threw off his coat as he jumped up and ran to Jesus. 51 Jesus asked, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man answered, “Master, I want to see!” 52 Jesus told him, “You may go. Your eyes are healed because of your faith.” Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.
One encounter changed Bartimaeus' life completely. This was a man who was tired of circling the chicken nugget table and settling for a monotonous, apathetic lifestyle.
Here’s two quick takeaways from his story:
1) IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO CHANGE
Psalm 147:3- He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
We’re not entirely positive how long Bartimaeus had been stuck in that place, physically and metaphorically, but we can assume it had been quite some time. Enough time for him to possibly give up hope or accept his fate. Here’s the thing though: our lack of hope is quickly overshadowed when the LIVING HOPE walks into your life. Regardless of how long you’ve felt broken, empty, or unfulfilled, Jesus is desiring to step into your life right now and give you purpose like you’ve never felt before. Everything changed when Jesus looked at Bartimaeus and asked, “What do you want me to do for you?”. Now, thousands of years later, Jesus is asking you the exact same question! In your prayer time, ask God to step into your situation because it is never too late.
2) IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START FOLLOWING
Mark 10:52- Right away the man could see, and he went down the road with Jesus.
Living in the fullness of God requires following Him. When our Father has a life changing encounter with us, it comes with a call to action. Again, not action as in “we need to do stuff in order to deserve to be in relationship with Him”, instead it’s accepting the invitation to remain a stride away from the person that changed your entire life. It’s constant proximity with Him that leads to the fullness of life we are craving. I genuinely desire that for every single one of us, and I’m positive God is desiring it for our church!
Here’s the beautiful thing about following Jesus— we have the privilege of encountering Him daily. So take some time today to ask God to lead you into the fullness that only He can provide. Here’s an exciting bit of news, there are so many people around you every single Sunday and Wednesday that are desiring and praying for the exact same thing. Isn’t that beautiful? I’ll leave you with one last question: What would Faith Chapel look like if every single person was living in the fullness that Jesus offers? For starters, it would be like a magnet for every broken and lost soul in our community. It would be everything God is hoping for our church.
-Pastor Erick Aguilar