Longing to Be Filled

I was awakened this morning by Mitch's tender kisses across my face.  Nose, eyes, mouth -- his wide, slobbery tongue covered it all.  Since Jason had worked until nearly one o'clock in the morning, I had planned to sleep in a little, but evidently Mitch had other ideas.  I cracked open one eye and looked toward the source of the hot breath on my face.  There at my head, hovering over me like a vulture, was my sweet, albeit determined, shepherd mix.  Noticing my attention, he let out a mournful howl which could be translated one of two ways:  (1) I want to go for a walk, (2) I'm hungry; when's breakfast?

Yes, it doesn't matter how early or how late we feed the dogs their evening meal, by morning, they are both longing to be filled.  Eyes are bright.  Tails wag in anticipation.  And as I've already mentioned, "kisses" are given to butter up the cook and encourage her to get out of bed.  The frustrating thing is that once they've had their breakfast, the rotten critters go right back to bed and sleep a good part of the day away.  That's just not fair!

As I stumbled around this morning, wiping the sleep from my eyes, I pondered the thought of being filled.  My mind was drawn back to some reading I had done earlier in the week about being filled with the Spirit.  The author spoke of the longing to be filled with the Spirit but how so many of us are afraid to empty our lives of the "junk" in order to make room for the Spirit.  The message of the chapter stuck with me.  How can we expect to be fully filled with the Spirit, if we're already full of other things like bitterness, worry, pride and so on?  After much meditation on the subject, I came to three conclusions, and they are as follows:

1.) In order to be filled with the Spirit (and I'm not talking about salvation), I must have the desire to be filled.  Just as the dogs hunger for their breakfast each morning, I need to hunger for the Lord to fill me each and every day.  I want to be filled with His peace, His joy, His power and so much more.  I need to have that longing above all else.

2.) To be completely filled with the Spirit requires me to be completely emptied of all else.  There is no room for my lack of faith.  There is no room for my selfishness.  There is no room for my judgmental nature.  If I truly want the Spirit to fill me completely, I must remove everything else.

3.) When I'm finally filled, I cannot imitate my dogs by going back to sleep.  God doesn't fill us with His Spirit so that we can sit on the sidelines of life.  He doesn't give us peace, joy and power so that we can lounge about doing our own thing.  No, the filling of the Spirit equips us to do the work that God has ordained for us to do just as a hearty breakfast gives us the energy we need to begin each day.

How are you doing today?  Are you longing to be filled with the Spirit?  Have you emptied your life of the clutter that is preventing you from being completely filled?  And lastly, are you using that filling in the way it was intended to be used--to fulfill God's purpose in your life?

As you ponder those questions, if you'll excuse me.  My tummy is starting to growl, and it definitely has a longing to be filled!