“At that time, Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, . . .” (Luke 10:21)
Perhaps God intends spiritual fruit — the visible outworking of the Spirit’s inner working — to be constant and the surges of feeling to be special gifts? Jesus was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. He agonized in the Garden, for example, but there were also times of surging joy – ”At that time,” Luke tells us, “Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit . . .” (Luke 10:21). David, the joy-filled singer for the ages, often experienced dry times, times when God seemed distant, when he would cry out in alarm, “Don’t take your Holy Spirit from me!” (Psalm 51:11). Even Paul had times of fear and called on friends to pray for the Spirit gift of boldness (2 Corinthians 7:5; Ephesians 6:19,20). It seems that the inner sense of fullness is not a constant, but a periodic gift. At least for the people I know that’s the way it is.
In my own life I can count on having a truly exalted experience of God when I go away for my annual time of fasting and prayer. So much so, I can remember many of those occasions, even decades later. But only occasionally do I have that rushing sense of God’s presence in my daily quiet time; even less often unexpectedly in the midst of a busy day. How I long, sometimes ache, to have those experiences often, yes, daily. But such has eluded me.
I’d say, “It’s okay. No one does.” But I’m not so sure. The mystics through the ages give testimony of such a walk with God. For myself, I’ll keep exulting in the sporadic winds that blow and stay on the alert for a more constant walk on the highest plane — however God defines that for me.
Fullness, then, in the sense of an inner feeling, is not subject to analysis, but it can be a glorious experience and the Holy Spirit will give it to those who love and stay tight with Him. If my relationship with the Spirit, letting Him take charge, is clear enough to me, and my fruit and gifts — or the absence of them — are clear to others, the inner sense of fullness may not be so clear. It’s difficult to analyze something that is beyond our understanding, yet God promises, in filling us with Himself, to give us love that is beyond comprehension (Ephesians 3:19). And we can’t even fathom the kind of peace that stands guard at our mind’s gate. But, says Paul, we can experience it (Philippians 4:7): “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” How exciting to feel the surge of the Spirit!