Fill Your Cup: Self-care on and off the field

“You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord's table and the table of demons.” 1 Corinthians 10:21 NIV


That’s a verse that’ll slap awake. You can always count on the Apostle Paul to give you the honest truth. In fact, the uncomfortable directness of this verse may be why I’ve heard many sermons asking “How are you filling your cup?” It seems like a simple question, but the meaning is deeper than any cup I know.


On the field, ministry workers are encouraged to partake in self-care frequently. If your “cup” runs empty you will risk burning out, but how are we expected to be filled spiritually?


I used to look at this verse from Corinthians and think it was a warning to be wary of what you expose yourself too. If you eat only junk food you won’t feel great. If you consistently watch horror movies you run the risk of having nightmares or become desensitized. In contrast, if you take care of yourself and focus on Christ, He will push out the darkness in your life.


“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4:8 KJV


This mentality isn’t completely flawed. There are psychological theories that suggest our decisions compounding in interest, if we make one good it will be easier to make another good decision and the reverse is also thought to be true. Having some of God’s presence in your life is better than not inviting Him to walk with you at all. However, some recent conversations with a good friend revealed to me I was missing something. I hadn’t quite hit the mark.


Many men struggle with lust in the sex-driven world we live in. About a week ago, one friend reached out to me in accountability and confessed he was struggling with lustful thoughts. Not porn, not cheating on his girlfriend, wife, etc. None of the big bad problems we expect friends to confess when their conscience is weighing heaving. To him, just his thoughts were reason enough to seek God.


“27 “You have heard that it was said [a]to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 NKJV


He went far further than most men I know. To the general public, an occasional lustful thought is justified as “normal,” “just part of human nature,” and so on. Yet my friend realized that his internal sin was enough to separate him from God and damage his earthly relationships. He doesn’t want to be half committed to God, he wants to be totally invested.


Before I came to France, an aunt asked me “When was the last time you got on your knees and said ‘Lord, I give EVERYTHING to you’” It’s hard to think about and even more difficult to carry out, but it’s what we all need. Jesus didn’t ask rich men to give a little of their wealth. He asked for some of them to sell all their earthly possessions (Matthew 19:21). In fact, he was known for asking a lot of us. 


I don’t believe Jesus wants all of us to sell our houses, car, life insurance policy, etc., but he does ask us to follow him. That means to follow him even in the little ways, not just our actions, but our thoughts and desires too. We must fill our cup completely with Him because God is too big to leave room for anything in the world that does not glorify Him. How will you fill your cup?