The Glass – Half Empty Or Half Full?

The Glass – Half Empty Or Half Full? June 27, 2019

Depending on how you choose to look at it, life can be a glass half empty or a glass half full.


I can’t remember who said it, but I remember hearing something like this. In this life, you can choose to live in two tents…the tent of contentment or the tent of discontent. One seems a lot better to live in than the other, especially for those who have to live in it, but for the ones living with contentment, life’s a lot better. To live in the tent of discontentment is to live a life that is solely based upon circumstances. One day they’re up, the next day they’re down. Their lives can go up or down, depending on what’s going on, and like a thermostat, they’re controlled by circumstances. Even though the Bible says God can use evil for good (Gen 50:20; Rom 8:28), it’s hard to accept that fact when you’re going through it, but we are free to choose. It is up to us which “tent” we live in, so how do we break the cycle and rip up the tent of discontentment?


It’s beneficial to look at life as temporary; as only a vapor that quickly passes away (James 4:14), so our trials and troubles will disappear someday. In contrast to eternity, it seems like a hiccup in time. We’re just passing through this world, and besides, this world is not our home (2 Cor 4:3-4). If we can have that perspective…an eternal perspective, then maybe we can be more content with what life throws at us. Knowing that God is sovereign, we must learn that He knows what is best for us, even when it doesn’t look best. Just look at Joseph’s example in Egypt, so God is not only the Lord of today…He is the Lord of our tomorrow. I know a few people who seem to be content. They’re generally in a state of happiness, and they have a sense of fulfillment in life. They make lemonade out of lemons. It’s how they think, but we too can choose to live with contentment, even when life is getting hard. How did the Apostle Paul manage to live with contentment, especially knowing all the hardships, lashes, hunger, cold, hot, thirst, and imprisonments he endured? He tells us how in the Book of Philippians, particularly chapter four.


The Bible has a lot to say about contentment, or being content. God is pleased when we are content with life. The Apostle Paul wrote that “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim 6:6). John the Baptist was asked by some in the crowd, “What then shall we do” (Luke 3:10). John answered, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages” (Luke 3:14b). Paul didn’t let his hardships interfere with his relationship with God, or allow it to destroy his contentment. He wrote, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). He was doing this for Jesus! What great motivation. To be content with these hardships, we are going to need Jesus’ help (John 15:5), but our Lord is just the One we need to go to (Phil 4:13). Paul said he wasn’t “speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (1 Tim 6:2). He trusted the sovereignty of God. If God had allowed it, it must be for his good. Recognizing that God is sovereign, and that you have a Source of strength (Jesus Christ) to help you have a contented mind, we can live a life of contentment. We can if we don’t base our contentment upon circumstances. Paul says that “if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content” (1 Tim 6:8). That was good enough for Paul, and sometimes, he didn’t even have those! Try writing out all the blessings you have and then see if you’re at least a little more contented.

Destroying Anxiety

There is nothing we can do about somethings in life…particularly those things beyond our control, but nothing is beyond God’s control. We don’t have to “be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6). When we pray about everything, everything gets smaller. Besides, even the gigantic problems are tiny to an omnipotent God, so let those facts give you “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Phil 4:7). Then you can shift your mind to think about things that are “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” (Phil 4:8).


Is the glass half empty or half full to you? For me, I am just glad I have a glass. Many others in this world have little or nothing, so compared to most of the world, those who read this are rich. Even so, many are still living in the tent of discontentment. And they make it miserable for those who live there. It’s time to have our minds renewed by God’s Sprit, and to gain an eternal perspective; to commit all of that discontentment to God; to seek God’s supernatural power (John 15;5; Phil 4:13); and to commit everything to prayer. That’s how to be a “glass-half-full” person. We’ve got enough “half-empties” already. Just think about the many blessings we already have compared to the world at large. Not only do we have a half-full glass, many of us have a loving spouse, a job, a car, enough food for the week, warmth in the winter, cool in the summer, a roof over our head, and a bed to sleep on. I’ve been blessed by God, but I still struggle with contentment at times. I let circumstances control me. I must remember that “things” and circumstances are temporal…the kingdom is eternal. When you’re done with your list of blessings, read it back to yourself, and see if you can also say as Paul said, “I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content” (Phil 4:11b). Someday, we’ll be infinitely contented in a way that’s beyond human description (Rev 21:3, 22:4).

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is an ordained elder of the Brethren Church and a Pastor and Prison Minister in the State of Kansas, but also a writer at Christian Quotes and What Christians Want to Know which address questions about the Bible. He also plants ministries like nursing home ministries, Outreach for the poor, and other evangelistic activities, and check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • pud

    You don’t have a glass jack. You have a deranged book, false claims, terrorism, an imaginary celestial dictator, fantasies, self delusion, irrationality, a lack of critical thinking skills, a job of lying to people and children, false hope, mindless ritual and cowardice

    • Wacka Troll

      RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGE!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol So angry.

  • Susan Jane Elohim

    Contentment is in Christ.

    The Secret to Contentment:

    Hannah Whithall Smith wrote a Christian classic called “Christian’s Secret of a Happy Life”.

    You can read it free on ccel dot org.

    Try to find the censored chapter 13 of Smith’s book that her publishers took out. You might learn something important.

    • Jack Wellman

      I have not read it, but Paul has already told us the secret to contentment, and it isn’t to be happy but content and have the joy that Jesus gives, which is permanent. The Bible never promises happiness in this life, but joy and contentment, yes!

      • Susan Jane Elohim

        I think some people use content and happy as synonyms…..Probably sloppy term usage but that’s what they do.

      • Susan Jane Elohim
      • Susan Jane Elohim

        Norman Geisler passed away recently. Here’s a short video of him.

        He wrote a great short easy to read book along with Patrick Zukeran called The Apologetics of Jesus explaining some key points about Jesus and Jesus’ personal apologetic.

        You have to wonder why so many people object to the truth without really understanding it. They assume they understand it but bible scholars don’t agree on everything so how did the everyday common layman get this right. I’m quite sure no unbeliever got this right because you have to be willing to let go of your own ego and just listen to God to understand some of this stuff.

        Why does anyone object to the Bible when Satan is still around opposing God. Why were there so many wars in the Old Testament? Well why were there so many attacks on the Jews which encapsulated the Davidic line which is the line to the Messiah?

        Some people have been trying awfully hard for a really long time to prevent Jesus from coming. Look at Herod killing every infant under the age of 2 in Bethlehem. Bethlehem used to have a high population of Christians but they have been driven out now and last I heard are less than 1 percent of the population in Bethlehem, Israel today.

        Why wouldn’t God protect the prophetic Messianic line from extinction but God’s people the Israelites….they keep disobeying God and getting sloppy about keeping the light to the nations lit….they did so like to compromise and blur lines with the pagans. Christians suffer from the same problem today..Maybe it is spiritual identity crisis…but that’s this world….it likes to give everyone an identity crisis so Christ will not be formed spiritually in them…But why should somebody else’s spiritual identity crisis be allowed to dictate someone else’s identity. Take your mind back, listen to God and start thinking for yourself. Not everyone is going to construct identical mind pictures of the truth….there is a lot of work that goes into constructing a mind picture of God. The Bible is the best mind picture of God that we have given by God through people dedicated personally to Him but people like to tear down this information….

        You will have to make a stand in your own mind to get a mind picture of God….a revelation….because the people who are biased against revelation….like to interfere with spiritual identity formation….Apparently their failure is suppose to be controlling but the numbers are not in their favor. A lot of people get Jesus.

        So don’t let some person having a spiritual identity crisis pass their crisis to you….Listen to God in the scriptures if you can take back your focus from the world and other people long enough to do that.

        We all set the boundaries in our own minds and determine what and/or who we will listen to.

        I don’t know how anybody heeds this world and puts God dead last but some people do.

        People are interpersonal boundary interlopers (violators) so take your mind back and decide the “whether or not God exists question for yourself”. Really what right does another person have to dominate or control your thought processes? An omnibenevolent holy God….He has the right because He is the only One with enough ethics to lead your mind into thinking about things the right way but even He doesn’t dominate…He leads by setting the example….but people aren’t always good at picking out good human examples and following them. That must be why bad company corrupts good character….people have a little role model problem while in this world…you can’t serve God and Mammon….it will cause a spiritual identity growth crisis for sure…

        • Geisler believes that the bible is the inerrant Word of God (in the now missing original manuscripts). He is forced to believe that Yahweh commanded the slaughter of the Amalekite children and babies about 400 years after he commanded Joshua and his troops to slaughter Canaanite children and babies. How can an alleged command to murder little ones come from anyone who is compassionate and kind? It can’t be done. It’s barbaric.

  • Maltnothops

    “life can be a glass half empty or a glass half full.”

    An engineer might say that glass was inappropriately sized for the task at hand.

    • Micho Lambwe
  • Micho Lambwe


    • Jack Wellman

      Thank you fore the encouragement.

      • Micho Lambwe

        You most welcome

  • Micho Lambwe

    Sweeter than honey are these words of God! God bless you abaundantly servant of the Lord! Thank you!

    • Jack Wellman

      Amen my friend.

      • Micho Lambwe
        • Jack Wellman


  • Eutychus

    The glass is completely empty. While you were arguing I drank it.