Is Your Glass Half Empty or Half Full? Think Again!

Is it half full or half empty? Think again…

So here’s the perennial question:  Is the glass half empty or half full?

You know the standard answers that supposedly determine whether you’re a pessimist or an optimist.  But pessimism and optimism are both over-rated and unrealistic because they don’t see the whole picture.  In fact they ignore part of the picture.

To the wise and perceptive, the glass is actually FULL. There is some water (which is obvious).  The rest of the glass is filled with air.  Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it’s not there.

We need the air just as much as we need the water. Both are vital.

How many times in your life have you judged yourself, another person or a situation based only on what you see?

It happens every day, moment by moment, when we only use the five physical senses.

How often do you “see” or understand the whole picture?  This happens only when we use our spiritual senses, our spiritual eyes, ears, etc.

Seeing things from a spiritual perspective

What a different view we see when we look at things from a spiritual perspective.

Jesus addresses this point when he tells his disciples, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgement.”  (John 7:24)

Here’s an example.  About 15 years ago at a church business meeting, there was a very divisive issue on the floor for discussion.  People on each side were entrenched in what they thought was right and were absolutely certain the other side was deceived and deceiving.  I’m not going to bother you with the details, but I went home that night fuming.

I was mad at certain members because they were on the “wrong” side of the issue.  But I was also upset at having reacted and come across so opinionated myself.  And more than anything, I was deeply disappointed that neither side was really listening to and hearing the other side’s perspective.  I was just as guilty as the others.

Anyway, I got home and all I could see was what appeared wrong.  It seemed that the glass was not only half empty;  it was completely empty.  But I was looking at things from a very limited, very personal, very material, very selfish perspective.

It was hard to pray about this at first, but as I earnestly turned to God for help, I began to see that the glass was not totally empty as seemed so obvious to outward appearance.  This was a gradual process over days and weeks of repentance and prayer.  I finally came to “see” the glass was totally full–even though nothing had changed on the surface picture at church.  I saw that God was governing our church over and above whatever we did or didn’t do.

I found my own peace about the situation.  And eventually the issue faded and was resolved harmoniously.

Not enough…

Have you ever had an experience where it seemed like your glass was half full/half empty.  There wasn’t enough time, money, energy, love, cooperation, etc, to do what needed to be done?  Sure, you’re grateful for whatever you do have, but it really doesn’t seem to be enough to meet the demands of the situation.

Well it’s time to open your spiritual eyes, to spiritualize your view, to see the unseen.  There’s more in the glass than you thought.

God’s love and care, His guidance and protection, His glory and grace are always there filling the glass (our lives) to the fullest.  It’s easy to see this when things are going well.  But do we see it when our glass seems not only empty but as dry as the Sahara Desert?  The good news is that our glass is full whether we see it or not.

Jesus proved this.  In fact, Paul writes, “For in him [Jesus] dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)  Jesus was the embodiment of God’s full glory.

But that was Jesus.  What about us?

Paul saw that we too have access to this fulness of God.  He prays for the Ephesians (and us) that we may be able “to know the love of Christ, which passeth all knowledge [knowledge gained from the five material senses.  There’s that outward appearance of things again.], that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.”  (Ephesians 3:19)

Think of that, to be filled with ALL the FULNESS of GOD.

But it’s crucial here to see the context of this verse from Ephesians:

For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Ephesians 3:14-19

We must bow our knees to the Father.  We must worship God.  God gives us the riches of His glory which strengthen us inwardly, thereby allowing Christ to dwell in our hearts.  When Christ lives in our hearts, then we are filled with the fulness of God.

So open your eyes, your spiritual eyes.

See the unseen.

Give Christ full access to all the broad avenues of your heart as well as all the nooks and crannies.  (Don’t try to hide anything. It never works.)

No matter what the outward material picture is, your glass, your heart, your life is full.

Completely FULL.



P.S.  Please leave a comment.  I’d love to hear how your glass is full.

  • BJ Foster

    Such a fresh look at an old cliche! I loved it!

  • patti white

    wow. this was really helpful!

  • Anne Marie Raftery

    Great article, James. Thank you.

    Reading it brought to mind the story, “God’s Jar”: In this jar are 25 walnuts and 2 cups of rice.
    The walnuts represent what God wants us to do. The rice represents the fun things we would like to do.
    Now, if you put the rice in first, the walnuts won’t fit. If you put the walnuts in first, the rice can be poured over and around the walnuts and both will fit with no problems.
    The lesson we learn from this is: If we put time with God before things we want to do, we’ll have plenty of time for both. If, however, we put ourselves first, we will never fit time for God into our life.
    Blessings on your prison ministry,
    Anne Marie

  • James Early

    Anne Marie, Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful parable. I love it and it is so true. Thanks for the reminder to always put God first.

  • James Early

    Patti, Glad you enjoyed it.

  • James Early

    Thanks BJ