People are converted, and they become exhilarated. Their lives expand with a new and lasting joy. Like the returning prodigal, they begin to be merry. Campbell Morgan brought smiles to faces by rendering the classic phrase of Habakkuk 3:18 this way: “I will jump for joy in the Lord; I will spin round with delight in the God of my salvation.”
Conversion is, indeed, an invigorating and exhilarating experience. A poet expressed it like this:
“Heaven above is a softer blue,
Earth around is a sweeter green,
Something lives in every hue
Christless eyes have never seen.
Birds with gladder songs o’erflow,
Flowers with richer beauties shine,
While I know, as now I know,
I am His, and He is mine.”
The only way to fill life to the brim is to fill it with Him.
But sometimes the sparkle seems to evaporate out of our Christian experience. At times we seem to forget the words of joy found in Psalm 16:11: “You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” A gloomy countenance is a contradiction of our Christian experience.
If we let Him do what He wants, He’ll fill our cups so full that they’ll run over and be a blessing to those about us.
Ellen G. White wrote: “In Christ is the tenderness of the shepherd, the affection of the parent, and the matchless grace of the compassionate Saviour. His blessings He presents in the most alluring terms. He is not content merely to announce these blessings; He presents them in the most attractive way, to excite a desire to possess them. So His servants are to present the riches of the glory of the unspeakable Gift. The wonderful love of Christ will melt and subdue hearts, when the mere reiteration of doctrines would accomplish nothing” (The Desire of Ages, p. 826).
One illustration comes from the Old Testament, the other from the New.
1. From the Old Testament
We all know who wrote the Twenty-third Psalm. It was David. It would be hard to find anyone who had more trouble and sorrow than he. And even though many of his problems were self-inflicted, that only made them even harder to bear.
But everything we see in the Twenty-third Psalm indicates that David, notwithstanding all his troubles, found life filled to the brim with God, the Good Shepherd.
The last part of the fifth verse says: “My cup runs over.” David’s blessings and happiness in the Lord didn’t stop at the brim. His cup was so filled that it ran over!
When you’re drinking something you enjoy and pass your cup back to ask your host to refill it, do they usually fill it to the brim? Probably not. And why not? Because people filling cups stop a little below the brim, for fear the contents will spill over. But God doesn’t care at all if the blessings and happiness He gives us spill over. In fact, He wants them to!
It is one thing to generously and carefully fill our cups of life to the brim. But God has much more in mind for us, so He doesn’t stop at the brim. If we let Him do what He wants, He’ll fill our cups so full that they’ll run over and be a blessing to those about us. Those about us will receive the overflow.
2. From the New Testament
The New Testament tells what it meant for Jesus to die on the cross for us. Commenting on what we find there, Ellen White wrote: “The spotless Son of God hung upon the cross, His flesh lacerated with stripes: those hands so often reached out in blessing, nailed to the wooden bars; those feet so tireless on ministries of love, spiked to the tree: that royal head pierced by the crown of thorns; those quivering lips shaped to the cry of woe. And all that He endured—the blood drops that flowed from His head, His hands, His feet, the agony that racked His frame, and the unutterable anguish that filled His soul at the hiding of His Father’s face—speaks to each child of humanity, declaring, It is for thee that the Son of God consents to bear this burden of guilt; for thee He spoils the domain of death, and opens the gates of Paradise. He who stilled the angry waves and walked the foam-capped billows, who made devils tremble and disease flee, who opened blind eyes and called forth the dead to life—offers Himself upon the cross as a sacrifice, and this from love to thee” (The Desire of Ages, p. 755).
What wonderful love Jesus has for us! He gave His all that we might have the fullness of joy in Him! He gave all and then was resurrected. The disciples’ joy when they saw Jesus again is beyond our comprehension. They could happily report as John did: “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life” (1 John 5:11, 12).
John suffered much for Christ, but none of that mattered. He had eternal life! What tremendous joy and happiness he received through it all! To have eternal life through Jesus’ love and care!
We have that eternal life now in Him. Let’s not forget it as we sometimes seem to. It’s our privilege to be the happiest people on earth. We need to demonstrate that joy and happiness to all about us. Then we will testify to all that we will “dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Ps. 23:6).