Ephesians 3: 19-21
I pray....that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
John 2: 1-9
On the third day a wedding took place at Cana in Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, ‘They have no more wine.’
‘Woman, why do you involve me?’ Jesus replied. ‘My hour has not yet come.’
His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’
Nearby stood six stone water jars, the kind used by the Jews for ceremonial washing, each holding from eighty to a hundred and twenty litres.
Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’; so they filled them to the brim.
Then he told them, ‘Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.’
They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.
Over the last few weeks we’ve focused on the last section of Ephesians chapter 3 which says:
“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen.” (vv 20-21)
That is such a great verse. It’s one to underline in your Bible or to stick on your fridge. However, the question I’ve been asking myself as I’ve this verse is: What is the limiting factor?
If God is able to do abundantly above all I can ask or think – then why aren’t we all seeing it?
If there is more available – then why are we not all experiencing this in our daily lives?
The first limitation I have identified is: My Capacity to Receive.
Capacity is the ability to contain or the maximum amount something is able to hold. For example, Starbucks coffee drinkers use the language of Tall, Grande and Vente to describe capacity. That's the volume their cups can hold.
So the question is: If God were to give you abundantly more than you have in your life right now – would you have the capacity to receive it, to hold it, or would it be wasted?
If I try to pour a litre of water into a pint glass, what happens? Almost half of it gets wasted, it spills over the side, because the glass doesn’t have the capacity to receive all I’m pouring into it. Jesus talked about this principle of capacity when He said:
“And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined.” (Mark 2: 22)
Old wineskins simply don’t have the capacity to contain new wine and so the wine gets wasted. What about you? Have you enough capacity to receive what God has available for you? Have you space in your life for all He wants to give you? Have you settled and become satisfied with less than He has available for you?
Through study of scripture and experience, I firmly believe this: The limitation is not on God’s capacity to give, it’s on my capacity to receive.
In Ephesians 3: 19 Paul prays: “….that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Other translations say: “….that you will be filled entirely with the fullness of God..” (CEB) or “….that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.” (KJV)
This is really talking about their capacity. Paul is saying: 'Right now, there’s room or space for more of God in your lives. There’s more of God available to you than you have currently made room for.' They’re not currently living at their full capacity as followers of Jesus.
Then, Paul moves straight into verse 20: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think…” Again, Paul is saying that God has more available than they are currently experiencing, in fact, there's 'abundantly far more'.
The limitation is not with God. He is able, it’s no problem for Him to do more in your life than what you are currently seeing and experiencing. Today He has more available for you: more blessing, more provision, more of His presence and power, more of His healing and grace, more influence and impact, more opportunities and experiences, more ideas to be conceived and dreams to be fulfilled. God has so much more for you. Can you receive it, can you contain it, have you the capacity?
In John 2, Jesus is at a wedding and they run out of wine. We read this:
“Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.” (vv 6-7)
What was the capacity placed before Jesus? Six stone water jars filled to the brim with water. They were at their maximum capacity. How much wine did Jesus make? Six stone jars full. If they would have had 20 stone water jars, I believe all 20 would have been filled with new wine. Whatever capacity they brought Him, that’s how much he was able to transform. The limitation was never on Jesus'capacity to change water into wine. Plus, note that it wasn't just the quantity that was great, the quality was exceptional.
In Psalm 81: 10 God says: “Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things.”
In other words, it’s up to me to create the capacity. If my mouth is closed, God can’t give me anything. If I open it, if I create capacity, He will fill it with good things. I have an active part to play in receiving what God wants to give me.
We'll look at two more clear examples of this principle tomorrow, but for now, simply think about this: God’s provision and power in my life is not determined by his capacity to give, but it can be limited by my capacity to receive. Today, how might I create space in my life for God to fill?