Friday, April 2, 2010

Is your cup half full or half empty?

We're all familiar with the common expression "Is your cup half full or half empty?" It has been said that how you answer that question is indicative of how you view life - whether you are optimistic or pessimistic. However, upon closer investigation in light of the gospel, is this really all there is to the expression? I love what Milton Vincent writes in his wonderful book, A Gospel Primer:

"Viewing life's blessings as water in a drinking cup, I know that I could discontentedly focus on the half of the cup that seems empty, or I could gratefully focus on the half that is full. Certainly the latter approach is the better of the two, yet the gospel cultivates within me a richer gratitude than this. The gospel reminds me first that what I actually deserve from God is a full cup churning with the torments of His wrath (Rev. 14:10). This is the cup that would be mine to drink if I were given what I deserved each day. With this understanding in mind, I see that to be handed a completely empty cup from God would be cause enough for infinite gratitude. If there were merely the tiniest drop of blessing contained in that otherwise empty cup, I should be blown away by the unbelieveable kindness of God toward me. That God, in fact, has given me a cup (Psalm 116:12) that is full of 'every spiritual blessing in Christ' (Ephesians 1:3) and this without the slightest admixture of wrath, leaves me truly dumbfounded with inexpressible joy. As for my specific earthly circumstances of plenty or want, I can see them always as infinite improvements on the hell I deserve.

When I look at any circumstance that God apportions to me, I am first grateful for the wrath I am not receiving in that moment (the empty part of the cup never looked so good!). Second, I am grateful for the blessings that are given to me instead of His wrath. (Life's blessings, however small, always appear exceedingly precious when viewed against the backdrop of the wrath I deserve.) This two-layered gratitude disposes my heart to give thanks in all things (1 Thess. 5:18) and it also lends a certain intensity to my giving of thanks. Such a gospel-generated gratitude glorifies God, contributes to peace of mind (Phil. 4:6), and keeps my foot from the path of foolishness and ruin (Romans 1:21-22). "

I trust as Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday (as our church likes to call Easter) are upon us, the thought of God's wrath placed on His son Jesus Christ rather than you, would provoke a great cause for rejoicing in your own heart. Have a blessed celebration!

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Suzanne DeShong said...

That's so amazing that you blogged about this. I have shared this quote with like 3 people just this week. I have contemplated it much myself and have prepared to teach that truth to the boys as well. That section of the book totally gripped me and I have revisited it so many times in the circumstances of life! Amen to that! Love you!

Jensen Family said...

AMEN, sister!