We are all familiar with the proverbial imagery of whether the glass is half-empty or half-full, contrasting the pessimists against the optimists. Ranking us into those who see destruction and not the promise. Despite having walked with Jesus, the disciples fell into this half-empty mindset.
21 From that time Jesus began to show His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. 22 And Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” 23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” [Matthew 16:21-23]
22 As they were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men, 23 and they will kill Him, and He will be raised on the third day.” And they were greatly distressed. [Matthew 17:22-23]
Peter and the others only saw with the eyes of the world, a world in which death is well known. Peter rebuked Jesus for foretelling His death and all the disciples were greatly distressed. They were so focused on the destructive, half-empty glass that they completely missed the miraculous, only of God, fully-full, not just half-full, promise “He will be raised on the third day.”
I admit that for many years I was a half-empty glass person. If one thing went wrong in my life or I looked at the conflicts and horrors of the world, I concluded that just about everything else would also go wrong. I clearly heard “in the world you will have tribulation“. But just as the disciples overlooked Jesus saying He would be raised, I did not hear Him complete John 16:33 with the words “take heart; I have overcome the world.” Perhaps my half-empty glass viewpoint came from years in churches that either focused on salvation as the means to a future heavenly reward and nothing more, or ones that said little about sin and the need for salvation. In both cases, there was little to transform my life now.
But then as I looked deeper into Scripture, I learned there was so much more than either of those types of churches were teaching. I learned that Christ lives in me.
20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. [Galatians 2:20]
I learned that it is God who is transforming me, not my efforts.
17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. [2 Corinthians 3:17-18]
I learned that God has direction and purpose for me.
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. [Ephesians 2:8-10]
And I learned that as I live by the Spirit of Christ in me, my life becomes filled with the fruit of the Spirit.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. [Galatians 5:16, 22-23]
In seeing salvation only as a distant reward and life now as suffering that cannot be overcome, I was caught up in a pessimistic, half-empty glass mentality. As God revealed Himself to me, I discovered Christ is alive and living in me and has made me a new creation. Not just a cover-up hiding the old underneath. Completely new,
“The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]
God chose to save me and God chooses to live with me and in me. God did not simply change my glass from half-empty to half-full. In the midst of the sufferings that are inevitably a part of this fallen world, with His everlasting loving grace upon grace, God transformed my glass from half-empty to overflowing.
Praise the Lord!