People often ask if you are a glass half full or glass half empty sort of person. The implication is that we are all looking at the same glass but some see things positively, by focusing on what is there, and others negatively, noticing what is not there. This is a reasonably good way of seeing how different people observe their circumstances, whether they are pessimistic or optimistic.
This can apply to us as Christians too. We can be glass half full, or half empty, Christians. We can see, for example, how God has changed us over the years, or we can be more aware of what hasn’t happened yet and how we would love for things to be different. Sometimes progress in the Kingdom seems to be very slow!! We can also be aware of what we feel that God has done for us, or more aware of what He hasn’t done yet. It could apply to prayers answered or not, or in fact any kind of change that we have been looking for, both in our external circumstances or within our own character and person.
The good news is that God’s purpose for us in Christ is ‘fullness’. Let’s just look again at Paul’s prayer for the Christians in and around Ephesus. He says “I pray that out of His glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through His Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you being rooted and established in love, may have the power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge-that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.’
Paul speaks ‘of the glorious riches that we have in Christ’. We might not be ‘glass half empty people’, but we might still find ourselves focusing on what we lack in our walk with God. We can be looking at our weaknesses and failings, when we actually need to look at all that Christ wants to be in and for us. Every lack that we have is an opportunity to receive more of His grace, and His unchanging love for us, which we will never come to the end of; height, length, depth or breadth, according to Paul’s prayer.
Paul also wrote this ‘Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come’, 2 Corinthians 5:12. Becoming a christian is not about joining a self improvement group. God says ‘the old isn’t working, it has to go, and I’m giving you a new life’. No wonder Paul could also write, ‘I am crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me’, Galatians 2:20
For every lack that you feel God has a supply, and it is found in your ‘new life in Christ’. Thanksgiving for the new will swallow up our negativity, doubts, and unbelief. It will take our focus off of the ‘old man’ and what isn’t yet sorted, and help us to focus on the ‘new man in Christ’ and all that God has poured and wants to pour into us. In God there is no ‘half empty’ as such, there is just opportunity for more growing as all our lack is swallowed up in His abundance.
So how does this work? Well, when I am tired and weary, I thank God that He is my strength, when I feel angry, I thank Him that He is my gentleness and patience. When I feel myself fretting, He is my peace. In fact whatever I am aware of as a lack, in my own strength, I can thank God that what I need will be found in my new life in Christ. We can take our half, or even fully empty glass to God, and as we thank Him He will, by the Holy Spirit, release in us more of ‘the measure of all the fullness of God’ which is now ours ‘in Christ.’ This is not always an instant thing, but be in faith in your thanksgiving. His purpose is that ‘Christ will be fully formed in you’. Galatians 4:19.