Growing In Faith
The term "half full" is meant to mean I am optimistic and happy with what I have. While "half empty" is meant to imply I am pessimistically focusing on how little I have. It's about our attitude toward the contents in the glass.
When life gets hard, it’s difficult to avoid letting a bad attitude take over our minds and rule our lives. Let’s face it: People hurt us, the past haunts us, coworkers mistreat us, parents don’t love us, friends don’t consider us, spouses don’t honor us, children don’t appreciate or respect us, finances don’t support us, and our health doesn’t sustain us. In James 1:2 (ESV) it says, "Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy."
If I can be honest, it’s the last thing I usually “feel” like doing when I am struggling is considering all of my troubles “an opportunity for great joy.” I wonder: Seriously, God? How is that even really possible? But God has beautiful encouragement in these verses.
James acknowledged suffering but also wanted to give hope and encouragement. He says inner joy could still be ours, if we deliberately chose to take control of our thinking and change our attitude. He encourages us to pause and refocus on our faith. We have to take captive our negative thoughts (that turn into negative attitudes) and choose to see things the way Jesus does.
Our attitudes are our choice and we need to know that whatever circumstances we face they don't have the power to dictate that attitude unless we let them.
Although enduring problems with a smile and pure joy in our hearts can be difficult, doing so not only helps us become stronger believers, it opens the door for an attitude transformation. The more we have a positive attitude the more we will see things changing in us and around us. With a positive attitude, the more successful we will be at handling problems.
Our attitudes are an outward display of what’s taking place in our hearts and minds. When our hearts and minds are focused in the right place, our attitudes will, too. The only thing we have to lose by choosing a positive attitude is a negative one. In Philippians 4:8 (ESV) it says, "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Keep our thoughts on the things of Jesus!
When we feel a bad attitude arise we need to ask the Lord to free us from the shackles of a bad attitude and ask Him to work in our heart and mind to transform our thinking from negative to positive — despite the struggles we face. Ask Him to fill you with a joy that can only come from Him!