Our Longing For Fullness
Our vision for us and our city is that we find fullness in Jesus by
being with Jesus, becoming like Jesus and living for Jesus.
Our vision for fullness is universally relatable, because everyone longs for fullness. Many of us sense that there is something missing, a desire for life to be more. Even though the secular world says the world is all there is.
Philosopher Charles Taylor in his book, A Secular Age, says that everyone pursues fullness. He says:
“We all see our lives, and/or the space wherein we live our lives, as having a certain moral/spiritual shape. Somewhere, in some activity, or condition, lies a fullness, a richness; that is, in that place, life is fuller, richer, deeper, more worth while, more admirable, more what it should be.”
The difference between a believer and unbeliever, is that for the believer fullness lies in God. Taylor says loving and worshipping God is the ultimate end. For the unbeliever, fullness lies in human flourishing without any connections to God.
Our Attempts to Find Fullness
I can think of two very common ways we can attempt to find fullness without God. Although these two pursuits for human flourishing are good and they do give fulfilment, but it is only to a certain extent. Human flourishing is good, but as as an end of itself it will never be completely satisfying.
The first attempt for fullness without God is accumulation. Happiness and fulfilment that is attained by the accumulation of wealth, material things and material security. Studies have shown that money can buy happiness but only to a certain point. A US study reported by CNBC show that households don’t get more happier with household incomes higher that $75,000. Increasing your income and accumulating wealth and living above the poverty line does provide a sense of security, peace and enjoyment. But it doesn’t give us complete happiness. Money has diminishing returns in reducing unhappiness.
Comedian Russel Brand said in an interview:
“I experienced the thing that I was cultural indoctrinated to believe a kind of salvation in fame and fortune and yet salvation did not come. Instead I had a sense of despair that I did not prepare for. A sense of alienation which I tried to solve by lacquering it in glamour, by trying to acquire money, by consuming.”
The other attempt for fullness without God is through self-actualisation or self-improvement. Instead of seeking fullness outwardly through material wealth and possessions, we can seek fullness inwardly by improving ourself to fully realise our best selves in terms of health, well-being, productivity, self-motivation and professional development. These things are all good things and they all contribute to satisfaction and fulfilment. But self-actualisation also has its limits. Because all our hard work of improving ourselves is ultimately given to a world of sin, decay and death.
You might not be able to fully actualise yourself because of a jerky boss who is actively hindering your potential and progress. For some of you there are parts of physical being that will always hinder you from being the best version of you. Self-actualisation also has diminishing returns by the natural process of ageing and death can make you question whether all this effort is worth it at all. Self-actualisation is literally short lived.
Steve Jobs, the pin-up boy of self-actualisation, personal success and making a lasting impact in the world, when contemplating his own death, confessed that he felt that:
“It’s strange to think the you accumulate all this experience… and it just goes away. So I really want to believe that something survives, that maybe your consciousness endures.”
Jobs speaks of a desire that many people have - to actualise oneself beyond death.
The Fullness that Jesus Offers
Accumulation and self-actualisation are good for human flourishing, but it will never make us full. We still want more! That is why most us, with highly professional careers, with the most advance and latest technologies in our pockets, with salaries in the world’s top percentiles, with kombucha and active wear, with podcasts and books, are still restless and experience dissatisfaction in life.
And all these attempts for fullness without God demands to give of yourself - your hours, your energies, your sweat, your calories, your future - only to leave you with an empty feeling. Many times these God-less pursuits for fullness feels like you’re being robbed of the very life that you are trying to fill!
Jesus says it like this:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I have come that they may have life and have it to the full. I am the good shepherd who lays down his life for sheep.” - Gospel of John 10:10-11
Jesus is saying that there are those who promise us fullness but they end up robbing our lives.
But Jesus isn’t like that. Before we offer and give anything to Jesus, he emptied himself first to give us life to the full. Jesus died to free us from trying to find a fullness that we can’t achieve ourselves. At the cross, Jesus tore down all our failures, all our short comings, all our regrets that made us fall short of being the people we desire to be and the people that God desires us to be. At the cross, Jesus forgave the debt of wrongdoing that we’ve accumulated so we could receive an everlasting relationship with God and his kingdom.
Only Jesus offer true fullness. Because Jesus offers you more than everlasting riches, he also offers a relationship with God who is the very essence and being of love, truth, perfection and beauty. A God who offers you the fullness of himself in Jesus even though he knows the fullness of your sin.
Only Jesus offers true fullness. Because Jesus doesn’t offer the best version of you. Jesus offers you to be like him. To be a greater version of you. To be like God. To actualise an identity, a meaning, a purpose, a mission that is greater than yourself.
We don’t find fullness outwardly through wealth and possessions. We don’t find fullness inwardly through self-improvement. We find fullness upwardly in Jesus. Jesus offers his fullness as a gift to be received. A fullness that can never be earned or gained by accumulation or self-actualisation.
Fullness In Jesus
If our vision for fullness intrigues you or excites you, then join us for Fullness in Jesus vision series on Sundays to learn more about how we as church community make the fullness of Jesus real in our lives.
This Sunday we will look at how we find the fullness of life in Jesus by being with Jesus in the daily routines of lives.