What does it mean to live a life that is fulfilled? Is it distinguished by achievements and accolades? Does it come with a platform and popularity? Can it be marked by excess and extravagance? How do you define fulfillment… Christ or culture?
To be fulfilled is to be complete. Although there are many things we may try throughout our life’s quest in attempts to be or even just feel complete, the undeniable truth is: we will never be fulfilled outside of living in the presence of God. Psalm 16:11 (NIV) says, “You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is the fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
On the surface, joy may be defined as a feeling of great pleasure and happiness. However, when we examine more carefully the idea of “fullness of joy” as presented in Psalm 16:11, we begin to understand it is the satisfaction of experiencing pleasure with gladness.
Fullness is the state of being filled to capacity; the state of being complete or whole. The path of life, as the scripture says, or the way of living we choose, determines our ability to experience fulfillment. Fulfillment may be viewed in two different ways depending upon the context. It is:
1. the achievement of something described, promised, or predicted;
2. satisfaction; happiness
The first definition deals with receiving something. The second definition emphasizes having an experience. In other words, there is a distinction between experiencing being fulfilled within and receiving fulfillment through external factors.
Experiencing FULFILLING GLORY leads to fulfillment. That is, being in the presence of God leads to the fulfillment of his promises (tangible and intangible) in our lives. We should not expect fulfillment if we are not first fulfilled by the glory of God. How can we have or handle the manifested promises of God brought to fruition if we are not initially satisfied alone with being in His presence?
Psalm 16:11 assures us that there is gladness to be experience from the presence of God for the sheer joy of being with Him. In the Hebraic understanding of the word presence, it literally means “face,” as in being in someone’s presence is to be in their face. It is our choice to decide the path of life that leads to being in the face of God. The pleasure we find in His face is the only pleasure that can totally satisfy our every longing to be complete.
It is our authentic, meaningful relationship with God which allows us to encounter His glory. When we are full of the glory of God, our lives will overflow with the fullness of joy and His pleasures that then lead to great fulfillment. From this overflow, others are blessed as we have the privilege of being glory conduits and carriers.
As I deeply take in what this simple verse of scripture imparts to me, I am divinely inspired by the Holy Spirit to summarize it this way and share this bit of inspiration with you:
“God, show me the way of truly living by daily being in your face. I am comforted that being in your presence leads me to great satisfaction. I experience pleasure with gladness because you fill me to capacity and make me complete.”
God’s joy. My peace. Fulfilling glory. I am complete.