“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11
I once read a little line that really struck me. It said, “Life is a cup to be filled, not drained.” As I pondered on this little line, I began to see that we make the choices about what we will add to our lives. We can choose to fill our cups with bitterness, envy, strife, jealousy and other fruits of unrighteousness. Or, we can choose to fill our cups with love, joy, peace, patience, thankfulness and other fruits of righteousness.
As I thought more, I began to realize that choosing to fill our cups with unrighteousness leaves the cup drained of all joy and satisfaction. It only creates more unhappiness. However, choosing to fill our cups with righteousness creates more happiness and does not drain the cup, but rather, increases or fills it with even more joys creating glory and praise to God.
That is not to say that our cup will never experience a measure of unrighteousness or be void of trials. However, how we handle these trials results in adding to our lives, or, taking away from our lives. It is all a matter of perspective. I don’t know about you, but I want my cup filled with all the Lord has for me. I do not want my cup drained by my poor choices or bad attitude.
What would you say is filling your life? What is draining it? What choices are you making that are adding true happiness and joy and what choices are bringing misery and strife? The choice is yours.
“The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways…” Proverbs 14:14
Something was brought to my attention the other day. Luke 9:59 & 61 both have the little phrase “…me first…” Jesus has asked two men to follow him, but their replies indicated that their own agenda was more important than the invitation of the Lord.
When you compare this with the proverb found here in chapter fourteen, you can see that having to have our own way, or preferring our own agenda take precedence over the Lord’s direction, is an indicator of our heart attitude. To be filled, in this verse, means to be satisfied, to have enough, to have the fill of appetites and desires, or, to be satiated (soaked through).
The backslider is completely satisfied that his way is the right way. He is happy to indulge his desires without restraint. He is so “full of himself” that he is soaked through with his own ways and ideas. His “me first” attitude is the predominant factor in his life.
There is another way to look at this proverb. The backslider will reap all that he has sown. He will be “filled” with his own ways to his ruin. His “me first” attitude makes him unfit for the kingdom of God.
This is the attitude of the backslider. Sadly, it is also the attitude of today. “Me first” is no longer just the cry of little children, but special interest groups, lobbyists, and those seeking to impress their agenda upon society. They are all screaming out to have their voice. Threats and temper tantrums from unruly adults are forcing society to give in and let them have their way, even to their ruin.
No wonder, since this is already the warning written in the book of Timothy. “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, etc…” (II Timothy 3:2)
Do you throw temper tantrums to get your own way? Is your attitude one of “me first”? Are you so bound up in your own ways that the Way of God is put on the back burner? Do you allow the principles of God to “slide away” and submit to the voice of the world even when you know it is not godly?
“And by knowledge shall the chambers be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.”
Visiting the Treasure Houses of Britain affords you a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy. Their homes are lavishly decorated and filled with all sorts of furnishings. From the sublime to the curious, these folks have used their homes to store up treasures that exhibit their wealth and interests.
One of my favorite places is the library room in Blenheim Palace. It is a beautiful soft blue and yellow with the one side lined with over 10,000 books and the other side with beautiful large windows looking out over water terraces and the gardens and parkland designed by Capability Brown. At one end there is a life size sculpture of Queen Anne and at the other an 1891 Willis pipe organ that covers the entire wall from floor to ceiling. The center of the room offers seating and tables along with graceful lamps and ornaments. It is tasteful, rich, but not overdone.
Our Scripture describes chambers that are filled with riches as well. “Filled” here means to fill up, to satisfy, and to draw with full strength. The meaning of “riches” is actually wealth and possessions. Knowledge, the “know how” of life, barring natural disaster, will create wealth and accumulation. We have only to look around us and see all the “stuff” we have accumulated in life. It might not be things that would adorn a palace, but they are treasures to us and exhibit our interests.
Now, lest we think the Christian life is about accumulation of things, let us also look at this from a more symbolic viewpoint. The chambers can be seen as our lives. Knowledge will fill our lives with treasure both precious and pleasant.
Ironside describes it like this: “Storing the mind and heart with wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, is like building a mansion on a solid foundation, and beautifying and enriching it with costly treasures that gratify the beholder, and add to the enjoyment of the occupants. He can never be poor who has the wisdom that cometh down from above.”
How’s your castle looking? Filled with pleasantness and precious things? Crumbling at the foundations? Godly knowledge and application of wisdom creates true wealth.
"All the labour of man is for his mouth, and yet the appetite is not filled." Ecclestiastes 6:7
Isn’t this a funny little proverb? Survival is man’s core motivation. Food is a vital part, and yet, man is never satisfied or filled.
The Bible warns about gluttony in Proverbs 23:21 saying, “…the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty….” And again in verse 2, “…put a knife to thy throat, if thou be a man given to appetite.” Self-control is the teaching. Man needs food to survive, but too much food is hazardous.
One thing to note is that the word “appetite” is not referring to the salivation of the tongue. It is speaking of the seat of emotion and desire, the desire of self. When we look at it this way we can see that our taste buds are not the main cause of our over eating. It is much deeper.
Some people crave the comfort food brings. Some just love exploring the taste sensations of the different textures and flavors of food. Some use food to lift them up, while others use food to mask their unhappiness. In every instance food is a revealer of the heart and the desires of self.
When eating takes prominence in our lives it simply cannot satisfy. It will always be tempting us to try to find just that one more morsel, that one more flavor, or that one more heightening of the sensation.
Is this the main focus of your life? Do you spend all day just thinking about and planning what you will eat? Is it really satisfying, or, leaving you empty and looking for more? Is there a heart issue you need to address?
“But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.” Acts 13:45
Paul and Barnabas had gathered a following. This Sabbath day nearly the whole city had come out to hear the word of God. The Jewish leaders were truly upset. They were filled with envy. They were completely overtaken with zeal and concern about the situation. But theirs was not a righteous zeal and concern, it was an envious zeal, a zeal that felt threatened and brought them to action.
We read that they began by contradicting Paul’s teaching. They argued with him over the Scriptures. They did not want to admit that Jesus was the Messiah, nor that they were guilty of denying him. They did not want to believe that man could be justified without the Law of Moses. (Verse 39) This teaching threatened to destroy their religion and reduce their influence over the people.
When they could not win the argument by contradiction, they turned to blasphemy. This means that they began to use language against Christ and his gospel, effectively denying the gospel truths. But as we read on in the story, we see they were not yet satisfied. They moved on to stirring up the city elders and trying to raise a persecution against Paul and Barnabas to have them kicked out of the area. (Verse 50) They would not be satisfied until their goal was accomplished.
Paul and Barnabas, however, simply shook the dust off their feet and went to another city. Verse 52 records they were “filled with joy and with the Holy Ghost.”
Two types of filling; one with envy and one with joy.
Being filled with envy creates jealousy and bitterness. It starts when we are but a child. We see our sibling get a larger piece of cake, or a new toy, and we are envious and jealous. We might even strike out and take the cake or break the toy. As we grow older we learn that this is not a good response, so we settle for stabbing our opponent with our tongues, giving them the silent treatment, or breaking a friendship. Allowing envy to fill our lives will never produce happiness.
Alternately, allowing joy to fill our lives, even in the face of persecution or envious people, is the way of Christ. Joy holds no place for retribution or vengeance. It is not combative and contradictive. It rests in Christ and knows the fellowship of His Spirit.
What fills your life? Are you envious of others? Does it eat away at you to see their success? Or, can you joy with them in Christ?