Drinking The Cup
Answering the call of Jesus is the most important choice each of us makes. We make this choice in multiple ways each day. Jesus said to pick up your cross and follow me, he didn’t say to fashion a cross for others and strap it to them. A Christian can no longer put one’s welfare before his needy brothers and sisters. This transforms the Christian and all involved. This is not easy and is not done by us, but what is “impossible for man is possible with God” (Matthew 19:26).
Sometimes we try to get out of being God’s image bearer.
Sometimes we try to get out of suffering.
Sometimes we try to ignore where God is calling us.
If we have a proper surrendered attitude to God, we will step out in faith and do the will of God for our life. Jesus prayed in the Gethsemane to have the cup taken from his lips, he didn’t want to go to the cross, but surrendered to the will of God knowing it was what was required of him. Just as he did, we need to surrender to the will of God in every aspect of our life.
A Jewish saying, it is not your obligation to complete the task [of perfecting the world], but neither are you free to desist [from doing all you can]. You will not be able to do it all yourself, but this is no reason to stop what you can do. We should all the good we can do and pray that God handle the rest and give us the strength to do what we can and even more. In the end, God does it all anyway, we just respond to what has done and is doing.
When we abandon what we want for what God wants, forgive others instead of punishing them than we are suffering for Christ, no longer is our ego in control, but God is. We are never really in control, but sometimes we pretend that we are. This is a lie. Jesus is about shattering all false barriers that keep us from living an honest humble God glorifying Christ centered life.
Forgiving others is releasing the false notion that we are special and people need to be punished for treating us badly. When someone does something wrong correction is needed, but to punish is to dwell on those actions, to be trapped in and by the past. We forgive others in gratitude for the forgiveness and grace offered to us by Jesus’ work on the cross. Christians do not put themselves before others. Jesus on the cross asked for forgiveness for those who put him there. He didn’t curse them, but forgave them. A key attribute of a Christian is forgiveness, because that is a key attribute of Jesus. When we center in on Jesus rather than our own petty concerns and desires and pray God’s will be done and mean it that will produce a certain kind of suffering, but through this kind of suffering, we will transform into more Christ-like Christians.
Abandoning lusts and desires does not mean that we will not enjoy life, in some ways we will enjoy life more. By centering our lives on the values that God encourages we will make life more carefree and simple. Anxiety for tomorrow only increases the undue pressures on our life. We need to live in the present. As Jesus said, “why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith!” Matthew 6:28-30
Dietrich Bonheoffer suggests that God did answer Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane… the cup of suffering would be taken from Christ by his drinking the cup.
Some say when you are going through hell keep going. Don’t stop. Keep moving. When in the midst of suffering if we listen to the darkness than we would wither and die. Some say to not doubt in the dark. If on the cross, Jesus had spit down on the Romans and cursed them, it would have ended differently, no resurrection. Drinking the cup in the midst of suffering means trusting that God has a reason for and a way out and it will be for the good. Trust that whatever you are going through that God has a way out. Trust that God will lead you from crucifixion to resurrection as He did for Jesus.