When it comes to being optimistic, that’s a hard pill to swallow these days with everything we see going on around us.
An optimist is a bald-headed man who goes into the drugstore, orders hair restorer and says to the druggist, “Bring me a comb while you’re at it.”
An optimist sees water in a glass half full, a pessimist sees water in a glass half empty. An optimist sees windows as something to let light shine through, a pessimist sees them as something that gets dirty and you have to clean them. An optimist is a man who thinks he can find a dollar when he falls into a mud puddle. An optimist is a person who looks forward to enjoying the scenery on a detour.
In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, Paul said, “In everything give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” An optimistic believer in Christ will give thanks to God in everything.
So how do we learn to be optimistic?
1. Look for the good, overlook the bad. In Philippians 4:4, Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always, again, I say rejoice.” He also said in Hebrews 12:2, “Look unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”
We know that evil prevails everywhere; we are seeing it on a much larger scale now than we ever have before. But should we let that become our mindset, where we are down and discouraged and angry and depressed about what we see and hear and experience? Don’t become a slave to the ever depressing culture.
Philippians 4:5 says, “Let your graciousness be known to all men, for the Lord is at hand (his presence is with you).” Make a conscious effort to see the good, because the Lord’s presence is with you as a believer. Concentrating on the bad is taking a step backwards in your faith.
Has everything we have gone through the last few months (and are still going through) brought you closer to the Lord, or have you gone further away from the Lord?
So, what good can we see? Your salvation. If you’re a believer, your sins are forgiven and you’re on your way to heaven. The Holy Spirit. He walks with you and talks with you and guides you. God has a purpose in everything that happens to you, even though you may not understand it (Romans 8:28).
So look for the good; don’t dwell on mistakes and past sins. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God wants us to live a joyful, victorious Christian life.
2. When it comes to being optimistic, count your blessings and discount your losses. A lot of believers in Christ spend their lives counting their losses instead of counting their blessings. Optimism counts its blessings.
Many young adults today say, “My parents made me go to church, made me go to the right places, dress right, do right, talk right; now I’m going to do my own thing.” But if you do what you want and live like you want, especially to live a life apart from Christ, the end results are disastrous. Some die early, some ruin their health, some homes are ruined, they have no peace.
3. When it comes to being optimistic, forgive yourself and forgive others. When we don’t forgive, it causes tension and unhappiness. Forgiveness is godly; it may open the door for you to be able to minister to that person in the future.
Ephesians 4:32 says, “Forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake has forgiven you.” As Christians, as bleak as it may seem, we should have a bright outlook on life, knowing what our future holds for us.
This is not our home; we’re just passing through. But in the meantime, let’s be optimistic knowing that we can gain strength from the Lord.
The Rev. Steve Holcomb is pastor of Cotopaxi Community Church.