By Dr. Russ,
Making the choice to seek, find and accept God’s gift of optimism requires the wisdom to know that Jesus spoke the truth to his followers, the truth given to him by God from heaven above.
Optimism is a belief that gives us the mental and physical power to deal with the circumstances of life known as reality. Pessimism is the belief that we are hopeless and helpless to make a better life for ourselves in the face of negative circumstances. Pessimism is further fueled by the belief that we have little or no control over the negative thoughts and feelings that we experience daily. From the perspective of pessimism, we are not able to take the negative circumstance, trials and tribulations of life and make them work for the good of ourselves and others. How do we avoid becoming absorbed into and completely overwhelmed by this negative life cycle of pessimistic belief?
Our only hope is Christ and the optimism that comes from navigating this world on His terms. But, where do we find optimism and then hold onto it in the face of so much negative news in our world? Whenever we tell others that we are in the business of teaching optimism we consistently are told: “Oh, we all need more of that.” If so many people need more optimism, why don’t they have it?
First, we must understand where optimism comes from. Optimism comes from within and without. Our position is that optimism is a God given belief from without and above that is experienced and shared with others from within. God gave us the possibility for optimistic belief when he sacrificed his only Son, Jesus Christ, for the sins of all humanity. In that moment of sacrifice, we gained an opportunity to be redeemed by a the Savior, having our sins atoned for and thereby allowing us to shed the weight of guilt and negative emotions that come from a life lived on our terms alone. Once freed of all this negativity we are then able to experience the joy contained in every moment of life no matter what the seeming trials, tribulations and pain therein.
While God gave us this gift, He did not guarantee that we would find it. Like the Christmas gift hidden behind the tree or the Easter egg behind the sofa, we must make the effort to seek and find the gift. Furthermore, we have choices about whether to open the gift and whether we like and treasure it as priceless, take it within ourselves, accept it as our own, and share it with others. Once we accept that Christ died to relieve us of sin and guilt, we are free to move forward with our new found optimism into the future, but we must continue to trust in the truth and shine the light of optimism on the path that Jesus gave us.
Choice, Wisdom, Truth and Trust
God's truth is to trust in Jesus and the word of God, to follow in his path and to model our lives more after Him. God sent Jesus to earth so that we could see a living example of a perfect life that God wants us to live.
Having shown us this example, He also had to give us the underlying belief that we could hope and strive for such perfection. Thus, He removed the shackles of our negative beliefs born of our failures, shortcomings, wrongdoings, and yes, sins so that we could believe in the possibility of the Good News of Jesus Christ – that He died upon the cross taking all of our sins with Him.
That path was His life as a living example of how God wants us to live; one of loving others as ourselves and forgiving others just as we seek such forgiveness. God does not promise that if we follow the Christian path that life will be easy. In fact, we are told that it will be difficult and full of many challenges to overcome. But, we are told that meaning in life is not derived from achieving the perfection of Christ, but from the striving and trying to live every moment of life according to His teaching; making incremental improvements every moment and day. In so doing, we believe it is possible not only to find optimism in every moment of life, every day, but also to hold on to that optimistic view for an eternity.