The Gift of an Empty Cup

We all want to be filled. That’s why we go to church, isn’t it? That’s why we listen to worship music. That’s why we listen to podcasts, sermons, and that’s why we read books. We are always looking to be filled. How many of us, though, are remembering to pour? We must pour out to make room for the Lord to fill us, and we must continue to pour out to others so He can continue to fill us.

Imagine you’ve got a cup of orange juice, but you realize what you really want is apple juice. You can’t pour yourself a cup of apple juice in that same cup unless you first pour out the orange juice! Our spirits are no different. What is your cup filled with now? Unforgiveness? Jealously? Bitterness? Hatred? Maybe your cup is filled with too much TV or social media. Maybe it’s filled with relationships that no longer serve you. Whatever it is, remember your cup can only hold so much. Have you ever noticed how it’s so often the broke and the broken-hearted that always seem to be the strongest in their faith and seeking after God? It’s because God is their everything. They have been emptied of everything else, every other distraction.

An empty cup, as much as it can be a blessing, can also be a curse. You see, when we empty ourselves of everything—relationships, jobs, hobbies, etc. and we don’t replace any of those voids with God, that is an open door to the enemy.

New Age practices teach you to “empty” yourself, your mind. What it doesn’t tell you though is unless you’re filling that void with God, that open door is dangerous. Meditation itself is not dangerous if you’re meditating on God, on Scripture. It’s the emptiness that’s dangerous.

A void will inevitably be filled with something. There was a time in my life where I was full of voids. I tried filling them with many different things, but nothing can fill a God-sized void except God Himself. As my voids grew, they devoured everything in my life that I thought I needed so much. I was left with nothing—not even a stable job. It was at that point I came to a fork in the road, and I was faced with a choice. I could choose to fill that emptiness with God, or I could blame God and turn to something else. I chose God, and I will continue to choose God every day for the rest of my existence. Not only did God replace everything that my life had been emptied of, but He added to it. My life is more full than I could have ever imagined at that point. If we cannot love God when we have nothing, we won’t love Him when we have our heart’s desires.

The beauty of the Lord is this: He never runs out. The more you pour out to others, the more room you have for the Lord to pour back into you. You’ve poured your cup of apple juice, and you drink until your thirst is quenched. What will happen to the rest of the juice in your cup? If you leave it in the cup for later, it gets stale, and it becomes lukewarm. If you don’t share it with someone while it’s fresh, it loses its value, doesn’t it? By the time you get thirsty again, you’ll want to replace it with something fresh and cool, so you wind up wasting the stale juice in the cup. The reality is, if you knew you had stocked up on apple juice, you wouldn’t have any reason not to share what’s in your cup while it’s fresh, right? If you have plenty of apple juice, you wouldn’t have any reason to fear the empty cup.

I remember when God told me to start this blog. I had a dream I was holding a bouquet of flowers, and I told myself I was going to take them home and preserve them after they dried out. Then, I had an epiphany. I didn’t want to keep the flowers. I wanted to share them with someone while they were alive and beautiful. The wonderful thing about flowers is that they are abundant on the earth. You can always grow more flowers, pick more flowers, and share more flowers. Flowers are a lot like our unique gifts; they grow to be seen by and shared with the world not for one person to keep to themself. What good is a gift if it can’t be given? What good is a talent if it can’t be shared?

After I give away my flowers, my hands are left empty. What then? Empty hands are the ideal environment for God to move! Giving requires faith that God will once again fill those empty hands. See how everything comes back down to our faith? Pouring requires faith, and that’s why God is attracted to our empty cups!

What we pour out in faith, God will replenish.

What if I run out of things to write about?What will I talk about after I’ve told all the things God’s told me? What God tells me next—that’s what. As long He continues to speak, I will never run out of things to write about.

I hope God’s abundance encourages you to pour. Pour out the things that no longer serve you and your relationship with Him. Pour into others. Tap into your unique gifts. Go write that book, go start the blog, the business. Serve. Speak. Give. Create. Encourage. Build others up. Love on people. Do all things for the glory of God, and don’t forget to remember the gift that is an empty cup.

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