When friends come to my home, they’re offered a coffee or tea, and then they’re asked – what cup would you like today?
I enjoy choosing a cup from my collection. These cups are displayed together but they’re not all the same. They’re a bohemian rhapsody of sorts.
Do you know, we can choose the cup of life we drink from? We don’t have to drink from the same cup day after day. We don’t have to drink from the cup we’re handed. We can exchange our cups.
Cups of bitterness, living in the past, feeling defeated, disillusioned, disappointed with life, envious of others, insecure, feeling alone, being immobilised by fear – these are all troublesome cups to drink from. Wouldn’t you exchange them if you could?
Sometimes I get up in the morning and I just feel an irrational fear about the day and have no idea why. Perhaps it's because, for so long, my natural response to what I was experiencing was fear and dread. It's like my brain still has to relearn feelings and expectations.
When I finally realised that I didn’t have to be defined by the thoughts or feelings that were just “there”, I was liberated. I began to say, as Psalm 118:24 tells me, “This is the day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it.” I had to go through a process of choosing what cup to drink from each day. I still have to do that.
The book of Ezekiel in the bible has an unconventional instruction to the prophet. He was told to eat the scroll of prophecy that the Lord was giving him; to fill his stomach with it so that he could go out and proclaim it. Chapter 3, verse 3 says he ate it and it tasted as sweet as honey. Similarly, Jesus was offered a drink of wine and myrrh as He hung on the cross, but He didn’t drink it because it may have compromised His ability to fulfill His purpose (Mark 15:23).
Do you believe what we ingest from our thoughts, the spoken words of others, what we see and hear in the world around us, can make us feel and act a certain way? We have the saying, ‘it made me feel sick’, to describe a thing that was unpalatable to us.
We have to understand what we’re ingesting and elevate ourselves.
Jesus Christ said to our Heavenly Father, “Let this cup pass from me”. He didn’t want to drink His cup but He chose to drink His cup for a purpose. He elevated Himself.
Horrifically, but majestically, Jesus took a cocktail mix of our sin so we wouldn’t have to drink from that glass ourselves. Sin is a poison that we drink, like alcohol is to the body. Jesus was able to drink from it and overcome its poison, and because He did, we can too.
But it’s a choice.
As we walk with God, we learn (sometimes with shock) that God doesn't necessarily alleviate our problems. But He does say we can overcome. How does that work?
If we’re feeling fearful – we can take it to God and tell Him, I exchange this cup for courage. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). The bible exhorts me not to be afraid hundreds of times, because the Lord of all, is all over me!
If we’re feeling hostile – we can take it to God and tell Him, I exchange this cup for forgiveness. Whatever I measure out to others, it will be measured to me (Matthew 7:2), so I choose to measure out grace as God measured it to me.
If we’re feeling ostracised – we can take it to God and tell Him, I exchange this cup for solidarity with God. I will not drink from any condemnation or mockery or ostracism poured out from someone else’s cup. Jesus Christ has condemned that on my behalf (Isaiah 54:17) so I will only drink from a cup that is good from the Lord (James 1:17).
If we’re feeling lonely or despairing – we can take it to God and tell Him, I exchange this cup for your love, your comfort, and I receive your companionship. There is nothing I lack (Psalm 23:1). Thank you that you always want to be with me. Like a shepherd, you never leave me or forsake me. You even sing songs of delight over me (Zephaniah 3:17). I can share my moments with you throughout the day.
If we’re feeling overwhelmed, or too busy – we can slow down.
Jesus Christ never hurried, but He accomplished so much. He was always in the right place at the right time. He didn’t do things He didn’t need to do. He only did the will of the Father. How did He do that? He spent time with the Father every morning and chose His cup for the day. Although He felt pressure, He received the correct expectations being placed upon Him as they arose.
No one was more jostled than Jesus, but He drained His cup each day with inner peace through His companionship with the Father and the Holy Spirit.
God has a cup especially designed for us, too. It’s our cup of purpose. It is what He predestined from what He foreknew about us. There’s a lot of knowledge, on God’s part, about the cup we should choose to drink from each day. “Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.” (Psalm 139:16, HCSB)
Personally, if I'm to live through a day satisfactorily, I need to receive the cup that God has for me as I rise, as Jesus did. I can’t just ‘get up and go’ without knowing what cup I'm drinking from. I have to spend time each morning with the God who knows me and planned my day, choosing my cup, and allowing Him to fill it. Then, I'm prepared to get up and go.
I encourage you not to choose any old cup when you rise each morning and not to receive a cup from someone else. When we ask Him, God helps us to choose our cup of purpose and enjoy draining it, so by the end of the day, we need to go back for a refill.
Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)
I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.
Ecclesiastes 5:17-20 (NLT)
Throughout their lives, they live under a cloud—frustrated, discouraged, and angry. Even so, I have noticed one thing, at least, that is good. It is good for people to eat, drink, and enjoy their work under the sun during the short life God has given them, and to accept their lot in life. And it is a good thing to receive wealth from God and the good health to enjoy it. To enjoy your work and accept your lot in life—this is indeed a gift from God. God keeps such people so busy enjoying life that they take no time to brood over the past.
2 Corinthians 10:5 (AMP)
We are destroying sophisticated arguments and every exalted and proud thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought and purpose captive to the obedience of Christ,
Zephaniah 3:17 (NKJV)
The LORD your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”