In Matthew 20:20-23 it is written,
Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came up to him with her sons, and kneeling before him she asked him for something. And he said to her, “What do you want?” She said to him, “Say that these two sons of min are to sit, one at your right hand and on at your left, in your kingdom.” Jesus answered, “You do know know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” They said to him, “We are able.” He said to them, “you will drink my cup, but to sit at my right hand and at my left is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father.”
As I thought on this passage recently, the question Jesus asked rolled over and over in my mind… “Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?” Granted… the thoughts I’m about to suggest are of different context than Jesus was speaking… but this is where I’ve been.
Lord… I want to be just like your son. “Are you able to drink the cup he drank?”
Lord… I want to love like your son Jesus did. “Are you able to drink the cup he drank?”
Lord… I want to be able to forgive like Jesus did. “Are you able to drink the cup he drank?”
Lord… I want to be humble like your son Jesus was. “Are you able to drink the cup he drank?”
Lord… I want to glorify you as your son did. “Are you able to drink the cup he drank?”
Every time I voiced a desire to be like Jesus in some way, the answer was the same… “Are you able to drink the cup he drank?” It was after a good period of time it came to me that God does not give those things to us as much as he teaches us those things. They aren’t granted to us so much as they are learned.
I’m of the opinion that too many believers want the gain without what it takes to get it. They want the ends without being willing to endure what it takes to get there. The cup may be the way God exposes who is genuine and fake. Consider Matthew 13:20-21…
As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away…
I couldn’t help but wonder if when God begins the process that is required to be more like Christ (Tribulation, Persecution), they didn’t count on it being that hard… so they give up and quit. They aren’t willing to drink the cup that Christ drank. Again… I may be way off base here. It’s just something I’m thinking through and considering. Any thoughts?
Trouble and crisis does not make the man. It reveals what is already inside him. Out of the mouth will come from the heart. Christ in us as the center of our lives, will lead us to a God Centered life. This is built on through persecution and tribulations. The more God reveals to us the more we want God to reaveal himself to us. A paradox, perhaps, but Godly discipline like exercise will teach us how to prepare for “The Cup”.
Okay… how did what gets IN a man get there? Something brought about what is there… right? I have no debate that Christ “will lead us to a God centered life,” my point is HOW that happens. I suggest it is the persecutions and tribulations as you write… which was my point to begin with. Not everyone who goes through difficulty will want more of God… some want less… or none at all (Like those who wanted Jesus to leave their town after he cast demons out of a person). The same sun that hardens clay, softens wax. What we are is completely… 100%… absolutely by God’s grace (“I am what I am by the grace of God…”). And that includes what is in a man’s heart AND how it got there. Again… just thoughts, musings, contemplations. Thank you for your thoughts.
A Christian, through the power and presence of the Holy Spirit when pressed will experience God and will be draw to Him through grace and mercy. It is true that these are the times we are closest to God. Have you ever been closer when on the mountain or in the valley? Who felt the closest to God, the disciples when Christ revealed His glory and fed the 5000 on the green hill or the disciples when He revealed His glory and calmed the raging sea? God through salvation, takes us on a journey called santification. The road at times is not quite as challenging as others, but the bottom line in the journey is it is all about God and His choice to mold us into the Christlike image of His Son. Our hearts are wicked, Chirst, in the work of the Cross is the only power that can give us a pure heart. Therefore when we are pressed down, what is in our hearts is revealed. As we experience God in trials, truely experince Him, I am sure we want more. How can a martyr like Timothy, a newly wed, a deacon of Mauritania, keeper of the Holy Scriptures say to Arrianus, the govonor of Thebais, as he sought to destroy the Holy Scriptures, “Had I children, I would sooner deliver them up to be sacrificed than part with the Word of God”. Today we think we are in trials. How could John have survived the boiling oll and still write the book of Revelation to encourage the same martyrs and end it with his exultation in Rev. 22:20 Come, Lord Jesus! We want more. Indeed he ended the book with this God inspired sencence in vs 21. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
I am back slidden, I have been closer to God. Sadly it takes the trials to experience Him. It troubes me. When God takes away things that are to my harm I am better for it. It helps us realize it is all about Him. Love you brother, thanks for letting me ramble.
Soli Deo Gloria
I have a couple of thoughts that have helped me my brother: “No test has taken you but such as is common to man. But GOD is faithful who will not allow you to be tested beyond that which you can handle, but will with the test provide a way of escape that you may be able to bear it” (1 Cor 10:13). “He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9-10).
Also, according to Romans 8:29, God is actively involved in conforming us to the image of His Son. He does not leave our sanctification to chance… He makes sure it WILL happen. Thus I would encourage you to consider strongly that GOD is at work in you… removing idols from your life and conforming you to His son. Thus God’s formative discipline in your life will ultimately result in peace (Hebrews 12:11).