"that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God." (Ephesians 3:19)Our lives are determined by that which fill them. Our lives are like vessels which are filled to overflowing by the things we allow to be poured into them. Some of what fills us we pour in ourselves, others consist of that which we open ourselves up to receive from our circumstances and our relationships with those around us. Either way, what fills us defines us.
Paul spoke of those who were filled up evil, "being filled with all unrighteousness, wickedness, greed, evil; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, malice; they are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, arrogant, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful." (Romans 1:29-31) However, here he prays that the lives of the Ephesian believers would be filled with something more preciousness; something of greater worth and purer power in our lives. Paul prays that we would be filled with all the fullness of God.
So what is the fullness of God? Paul gives us a hint when He says, "Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law." (Romans 13:10) Similarly, John reminds us that, "God is love." (1 John 4:16) To be filled with the fullness of God is to be filled with the love of God, not a love that is focused inwardly, but a love that flows out to others; that we might love others even as Christ has loved us. Furthermore, when Moses asked to see God's glory, God passed before Him and proclaimed, "The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations." (Exodus 34:6-7) To be filled with the fullness of God is to be compassionate, gracious, patient, loving, kind, forgiving, and generous. In short, to be filled with all the fullness of God is to be conformed into His image. To the degree to which our lives reflect the nature of Christ, to that degree our lives have been filled with the fullness of God.
A few things are essential to being filled with the fullness of God. First, is that we must empty ourselves of our old life and nature that we might be filled for a new life and nature. If our lives are filled with the carnal sins of the flesh, as Paul wrote to the Romans, then there remains little room for the fullness of God to take up residence within us. We must first empty ourselves that we must be filled. This often takes assuming a new posture towards God. Jesus said, "Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved." (Matthew 9:17) Often times, old ways, dead religion, corrupting relationships, and inherited patterns of life are insufficient to hold the new wine God desires to pour into us. To receive the fullness of God we must first shed our old winskins and present to God new wineskins which may hold His new wine. This starts with our regeneration that comes through repentance, faith, and baptism which washes away our old life of sin. After that, it is required that we grow up in our faith, ever growing that we might be ever filled to new levels of the fullness of God. Part of this growth comes when we submit in fellowship with other believers and receive the ministry of Christ from others. Such ministry is intended to grow us up and to make us worthy of the full stature of Christ. Speaking of the ministries that God has place within His Body, which is the Church, Paul says, "And He gave some... for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ." (Ephesians 4:11-13) We cannot grow to obtain the fullness of God by ourselves, we can only achieve this goal in communion and submission with other believers in Christ. There we will find the encouragement, relationships, and equipping that will help us grow, along with other believers, into full-frown men and women of God who posses in great degree the fullness of Christ in their lives.