Full All the Time
By F. F. Bosworth (1877 – 1958)
From “Herald of His Coming”
To every sinner Jesus says, “Come unto Me…” (Matt. 11:28). To every Spirit-filled Christian He says, “Abide in Me…” (John 15:4). So few today have ever been taught what it means to fully abide in Christ, the “True Vine” (John 15:1). Before telling His disciples to abide in Him, Jesus had spoken of their being filled with the Holy Spirit, of His manifesting Himself to them, of the Father and the Son making their abode with them, and of their being one with Him not only in will and love, but in identity of life and nature.
Then His invitation and command to the Spirit-filled is, “Abide in Me,” meaning for them to remain in the condition He had just described. Most Christians today have never entered into this condition – this fullness of the Spirit and of the Divine life – much less continuing in it, which is the Lord’s will for all.
The healthy branches of every earthly vine teach us the meaning of our Lord’s invitation and of the union to which He invites us. It teaches us the nature of that union – that the connection between the branches and the vine is a living connection. It teaches us that the life union between the vine and branches, when it is maintained, keeps the branches always full – full all the time, of the life and sap of the vine.
No one is fully abiding in Christ who is not full of the Spirit. This is why God commands all the branches in Christ the True Vine to “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). It is only as this life union is maintained that the life, the sap, and the fruitfulness of the vine can be continually communicated to the branches.
The two invitations of Christ, “Come unto Me” and “Abide in Me,” are equivalent to His invitation, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink” (John 7:37), and promising that when we are thus filled with the Spirit, there shall flow from within us “rivers of living water” (7:38). His invitation, “Come unto Me, and drink,” always means, of course, to drink to the full. He wants us to drink until we overflow. No vessel can overflow until it is full. Every healthy branch is always full of the life and sap of the vine – not half-full.
Jesus says concerning those who thirst, “they shall be filled” (Matt. 5:6). The all-including command, “Be filled with the Spirit,” means to keep filled. Every healthy branch in a vine, though much smaller in size than the main stalk, is continually as full as the vine itself, and the main stalk is so full that it must have an outlet into the branches. Likewise, the branches are so full that they must have an outlet into the fruit.
The Spirit Quickens
I have heard Christians express their reasons for wanting to be filled with the Spirit. It seems to me that every Christian in the world would pray until they were filled with the Spirit if they knew the glorious reasons why the Holy Spirit wants them to be filled with Himself. One of His reasons is that He wants to be unhindered in His wonderful work of quickening continually our whole spirit, soul and body.
In John 6:63, Jesus said, “It is the Spirit that quickeneth,” or gives life. He is spoken of in Romans as the “Spirit of Life” (Rom. 8:2). All life is due to the direct action of the Holy Spirit. It is His work to impart to us continually the actual life of Jesus, who is the true Source of life for both the souls and bodies of God’s children. When we are anything less than full of the Spirit, which is the condition of His perfect working, His work of quickening (of increasing the Divine life of our spirit, soul and body) is hindered or limited.
Jesus said that He came, not only that we might have life, but that we might have it “more abundantly” (John 10:10). We cannot have His life in the measure which He desires unless we are filled with the Spirit. The abiding which Christ commanded keeps us filled with the Spirit, thus removing from us all hindrances to the Spirit’s constant quickening.
In the 119th Psalm, David used the word “quicken” eleven times. He knew that more life is the cure – the only cure – for all our ailments. It is well to know what to pray for. David desired quickening – more life – increased life. He therefore sought that blessing which is the root of all the rest. He prayed, “Quicken me after Thy lovingkindness…” (Psa. 119:88). We need never fear anything that lovingkindness does. Nothing else is so good and lovingkindness itself cannot do us a greater service than by making us to have “life more abundantly.”
“According to Thy Word”
In the 25th verse of Psalm 119, David prayed, “…Quicken Thou me according to Thy Word.” Thank God, we can all pray with faith and get the answer every day to this comprehensive and inspired prayer: “…Quicken Thou me according to Thy Word.” Notice that the quickening is, as David said, “according to Thy Word.”
The Holy Spirit inspired the Word of God, and it is His own blueprint to which He works, while carrying on His great work of quickening. So to be quickened “according to [God’s] Word,” means to be full of His life in the entire range of our complex being – body, soul and spirit.
God has made Christ the treasury of all that He is. In Him is “all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col. 2:9), and we can be full of everything that the Vine contains. The abiding branch not only has life, but is full of life all the time. It is by the Spirit’s fullness and the consequent unhindered quickening that we are “preserved,” as Paul says, “spirit and soul and body” (1 Thes. 5:23). Paul says the Spirit will “also quicken your mortal bodies” (Rom. 8:11), and in Second Corinthians 4:11 we have the words, “that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” If you need healing from Christ, wait on God for the Spirit to quicken you to the extent that Mark 11:24 shall be fulfilled in you. “What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” This is exactly what the Divine Quickener wants to do for you.
Let us pray, every day, “Quicken Thou me [give me more life] according to Thy Word,” that is, according to every revelation we find in the Bible which shows us ourselves as God wants us to be. Every time you discover in the Word more of what God requires, rejoice and be encouraged, because it is the work of the Spirit – not your work – to quicken you to that extent.
Let this prayer be your first prayer every day, for it is the condition of a thousand other blessings. It is God’s way of fulfilling in you “all the good pleasure of His goodness” (2 Thes. 1:11). The Holy Spirit wants to quicken us to the extent that everything He has revealed concerning us in God’s Word shall be fulfilled in us.
In Psalm 119:50 David says, “Thy Word hath quickened me.” The Spirit quickens us according to our trust in God’s Word – according, or to the extent, of every promise or command that we find in the Word of God. This quickening will be, as Paul says, “from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). God’s words “are spirit and life” to accomplish exactly what they reveal. When we pray to be quickened “according to His Word,” we know that we are praying according to His will and can therefore obtain the answer.
“According to His Word” means according to both His promises and His commands. The more the Word requires, the better, for the greater will be the quickening. What a glorious privilege it is that whenever we feel the least lack, we can pray to the Giver of life, “quicken Thou me” – give me more life. We need quickening every day.