Friday, January 12, 2018

"My Cup Runneth Over"

"My Cup Runneth Over"

    As the saying goes, some people naturally see the cup as half full, some as half empty.  Scripture calls us to view the cup as overflowing: "my cup runneth over…now unto Him that is able to do exceeding, abundantly above" (Psalm 23:5; Ephesians 3:20).

    It does not always look this way, of course, and it certainly does not always feel this way.  Nor do we always act as the vessels of Christ's "life more abundant" (John 10:10). The truth nevertheless abides in the heart of born again believers in the Lord Jesus, both now and forevermore.  In times of obvious blessing, difficult challenge, and all measures and degrees between, the Spirit of God abides within our hearts as the immeasurable joy and peace of God.  "Still waters" reside in the very heart of believers, thus making possible peace in storms, joy in sorrow, strength in weakness, and life when all seems dead and decaying (Psalm 23:2).

   "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair… As dying, and, behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things" (II Corinthians 4:8; 6:9-10).

    The Apostle Paul felt the human realities of life in a fallen world.  He did not deny the mental, emotional, and physical distresses that come to all, especially to those who walk closely with the Lord.  Paul, however, knew the Lord and His truth well enough to consistently overcome the appearance and sensibilities that portray the cup as not only half empty, but rather as fallen off the table, shattered, and lying on the floor in shards.  Indeed, it matters not whether we are a half empty or half full person (my own natural disposition sees the shards), the course of our lives is determined by the same questions.  Is the Lord actually who the Bible declares Him to be?  Is He where the Bible declares Him to be, united to our spirits?  Is He doing what the Bible promises He does, infusing our innermost being with life, joy, and peace?  The issue is about the Lord Jesus rather than ourselves and our native tendencies.  It is also about our choices to know and believe Him as the content, the overflowing content, of the cup.  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5). 

    The truth of Scripture comforts us without coddling us.  It tells us unequivocally that joy and peace are always possible, regardless of circumstance, condition, or situation.  The joy may manifest in the very midst of sorrow, and the peace may abide in the winds of internal or external tempests.  Again, the issue involves the Lord Jesus and our response to Him.  Is He who He is, and is He doing what He promises to do?  Am I trusting Him with all my heart?  Our experience of an overflowing cup will always be determined by how we choose to answer these questions, as led and enabled by the Holy Spirit in response to the Word of God.  Always.  This is blessed, but also difficult truth often known when all evidence and emotion seem to tell us otherwise.  It is true nonetheless.  The Person of Christ abides as faithful in all things.  His presence remains within us always.  And His power to maintain an overflowing cup never ebbs.  Promises and commands speak most vividly of such assurance, as known by grace received through faith…

"He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water."
(John 7:38)
"Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment."
(John 7:24)
"Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
(Philippians 4:4-7)

Weekly Memory Verse
    "One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple." 
(Psalm 27:4)

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