“But Jesus answered and said, ‘You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink…” — Matthew 20:22
The mother of James and John was ambitious and highly motivated when it came to her sons. She was like a lot of parents we see today–seeking to live her life through the successes of her sons. The real problem was that she didn’t possess the spiritual perception to know what she was asking for.
Gain never comes without pain, and success never comes without surrender and sacrifice. Jesus challenged her ambition with a very valid question: “…are you able to drink the cup?” The cup He was talking about was a cup of surrender and sacrifice.
In the privileged and petted culture that I find myself, the term “surrender” is considered a foreign concept…from another world. As foreign as we think it is, Jesus considered surrender foundational to greatness. He demonstrated this self-emptying life (Philippians 2) and was exalted by the Father, being given a name that is above every name. Empty of self–it’s the most accurate way to describe biblical surrender.
Occasionally, I set before me a coffee cup with the word “Surrender” on it. Nothing will be in the cup. I will raise it to my lips to drink and realize that I cannot drink from this cup. This is a cup of emptying from which none of us can drink as Jesus did. I am not discouraged in this but rather am driven even more to know the contents of the cup.
A. W. Tozer penned a prayer that has impacted my life concerning surrender. He wrote:
I want to know Thee, but my coward heart fears to give up its toys. I cannot part with them without inward bleeding, and I do not try to hide from Thee the terror of the parting. I come trembling, but I do come. Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival. Then shalt Thou make the place of Thy feet glorious. Then shall my heart have no need of the sun to shin in it, for Thyself wilt be the light of it, and there shall be no night there.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Does the cup of surrender define and drive our lives? Are we passionately seeking an emptying of self that the Lord’s presence in us may be glorious? Today, I choose to raise the cup of surrender…to be emptied of self…and to be filled with Him. How about you?