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Avatar – Filling a cup that is already full

May 15, 2011
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We’ve already looked at Avatar previously: (LINK HERE).

Today, I want to focus specifically on a scene at the beginning of the movie.  Jake has just recently been “born again” (gotten into his avatar), but he’s very clumsy living in this new body, and so triggers a bunch of dangers through being a spiritual “baby”.  Coming to the Omaticaya, he asks to learn their ways.

At this point, the Omaticaya leader makes a comment that I think is so necessary for us to learn from: “Others have tried to learn and failed.  You cannot fill a cup that is already full.”  To which Jake responds “My cup is empty.”

This is fundamental for us to grow as Christians.  We must have an empty cup – if our minds are filled with all our preconceived notions, our knowledge and understanding, our judgments and assessments of how this world works, and the methods we’ve learned from our natural leaders, we will NEVER come to understand the spiritual realm.  The Kingdom of Heaven is in many ways completely opposite of the world (the last shall be first, love your enemies, forgive an unlimited amount of times, die to live, become like a little child to mature, etc).  We cannot understand these things if our minds are already full of what we think we know.

The reason that Jake was able to grow and become a champion in the spirit, while so many others failed to learn ANYTHING (even after being born again – an unfortunate parallel to life in many of our churches) is that Jake had nothing going for him.  His worldview was destroyed with his legs and he didn’t have a lot of confidence in what he thought he knew.  The others had agendas, ambitions, and ideas of “how things work” and these ideas kept them from being able to learn Omaticaya ways.

This, in a great many ways, is a picture of humility – acknowledging our need.

Revelation 3:17-20: You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

Jake acknowledged his need, and that he did NOT have full understanding.  Unlike the rest of the humans who tried to come not as learners with teachable spirits, but as conquerors and educators, judging that they had nothing to learn from the Navi.

As Christians, we must ask ourselves: How much of our thinking reflects the world?  How much of our church growth and planning and ministry strategy reflects heaven and how much reflects “the ways and thinking of the world?”  How much of our political activism is truly Kingdom, and how much is pursuing power the world’s way?  How much of what we do as Christians is truly “Kingdom” and how much fits the methods of this world and is done because it makes rational sense?  And how much do we do because we think that our modern American world has all the answers?

We can’t merge the two.  We can’t say “I’m going to use the world’s wisdom to be a better Christian”.  They are opposite.  We can’t be both last and first.  We can’t both hate and love our enemies.  We can’t both cling to our life in the world and die to it at the same time.

The picture expands – it is not that the Omaticaya did not have organization or strategy.  But it was different.  It is not that we are not supposed to have strategy or use wisdom.  Not at all.  But it must be Kingdom.  It can’t be earthly.  We can’t copy the world.

We can’t copy other Christians either.   Every move of God persecutes the next move of God.  Why?  People struggle and struggle to bring change, and are full of a good vision.  But then, when it is time for the next vision to come and for things to change again, it is very hard to die to the thing we’ve “filled our cup with”.  You can’t put new wine in an old wineskin (Matthew 9:17). God is always in motion.  For us to keep in step with him, we have to be willing to change, even if that means letting go of things that we have fought for in the past.

David was not allowed to build the temple.  God waited for Solomon.  Why?  David was a man of war.  All his greatest accomplishments came in times of war and conflict.  All his greatest failures came in times of peace when he was not fighting.  God wanted a man whose mind could understand peace and abundance to build his temple.  David could not because his cup was so full of war.  I suspect that a similar thing occurred between Moses and Joshua (though with different mindsets involved).

Previous leaders should be honored and learned from, but never copied.  We are not to build the same foundation that someone else has already built.  We’re to stand on it and add to it.  If we so fill our minds with what previous leaders have said, we will not be able to move into new things.

Currently, society is moving into a postmodern form, and postmodern Christians are struggling to find where they fit in the church.  Postmodern leaders MUST learn from the wisdom of those who have led the church in modernity (not check out and “lone wolf” it), but they also must be freely postmodern.  They must stay “open” to what God would say, without having cups too full of pictures of what the church should look like or has looked like.

How open is your cup?  We can’t grow as Christians if our minds are full of the world’s ways and conclusions.

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 11, 2015 5:38 PM

    Reblogged this on Angel Fish Blog.

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