In the Christian Bible, among the scriptures that we receive inspiration and guidance from is a letter written by the Apostle Paul to the Church at Philippi. At Villa Rica First United Methodist Church, Rev. Erik Mays tapped into the congregation’s subconscious through a sermon from chapter 4, verses 4-9 of this treasured writing from Philippians which reads as follows –
Philippians 4:4-9 English Standard Version (ESV)
4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice. 5 Let your reasonableness[a] be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; 6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. 7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 What you have learned[b] and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you (Biblegateway.com).
The use of this image of a glass of water (half-full or half-empty) as an object lesson during the sermon sparked an inner conversation in me about how we vacillate between opinions, even after we declare having a proven spiritual relationship with a higher power. But I cannot honestly say that I always rejoice as Paul comments to the church at Philippi. Some days I operate as though acknowledging a half-empty glass. What about you? Paul writes in another letter, 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is passed away, behold the new has come (Revised Standard Version).
Half-Empty? Half Full?
I believe we hold a collective hope and a common goal (Readings in Christian Ethics). Faith helps us to see the possibilities that the future holds. Hope is a way of generating energy and casting a trajectory for the future. The glass does indeed have the capacity to take on more water! But when I only see it half empty, even if the resources are available to full it to the brim, I might well miss seeing what’s available. I miss seeing possibilities because of my behavior and thoughts supporting practices that lead to attempts to preserve what I have as if resources aren’t available to grow it.
The Wesleyan theology of new birth is grounded in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus (John 3). Humans process the ability to choose to respond to stimuli and in selecting how we respond. Each time we harness our inherent ability to modify our opinions when there is new information, a “glass full” response to the visual triggers our subconscious mind to achieve what seems impossible (The Empowerment Mindset).
Let’s endeavor to pursue the vision of a glass “half-full.”