The message I heard at church yesterday, got me to wondering what and who fills my cup (a metaphor for our hearts and mind). The text of the sermon is Jesus’s last evening before He is arrested. He takes Peter, James and John to watch over Him as He prays. He knows what is about to happen and He prays, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39b) Our Lord was willing to endure the cup of suffering, knowing what it would cost Him. He had told them about what was to come when He told them to remain in Him: If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.” (John 15:10-14)

So when problems of the world are filling our cups, what do we do with them? Do we focus on the problems while wallowing in our struggles? Do we lift our cups up to the Lord, asking Him to remove the problems? And if we do offer our cup of suffering to Him, do we do like Jesus did and say,  Yet not as I will, but as you will”? It’s not always in God’s will that our trials be taken from us. He uses our struggles to refine us (1 Peter 1:7), to help others (2 Cor. 1:4) and for His purposes (Romans 8:28). Jesus gave us His perfect answer: “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matt. 26:41)

The enemy tries to fill our cups, and if successful, makes it so that there’s no room for Jesus. Since the enemy masquerades as an angel of light, many of these worldly things appeal to our senses and make us feel good. They frequently appeal to our sense of pride, and have us focus on ourselves: our successes, our failures, our feelings, our goals and our dreams. These are cheap, temporary highs. Instead, Jesus prayed for us to be protected from the evil one so that we would be prepared for the Lord’s purpose here on earth: I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them [set apart] by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:13-19) Jesus asked that we be set apart and protected.

He further prayed, My prayer is not for them [disciples] alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (john 17:20-23) Our cup should be overflowing with the unconditional love of Christ to share with others so that they, too, may know Christ and make Him known to others. Our words and actions should reflect the love of Christ. In order for us to be able to do that, we must first empty our cups of ourselves and worldliness so that there is room for the love of Jesus to overflow from us–so that we reflect HIM!

When I stand in front of a mirror, I want Jesus to see His reflection, not mine.–Pastor B