Optimism or Pessimism? Take the Sunny Side of the Street
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.
- Summary: Before I experienced a personal, saving encounter with Jesus Christ in 1969, I held a cynical and pessimistic outlook towards many of the people and things around me. To borrow two old sayings, I did not typically see the glass half full or walk on the sunny side of the street. But since committing my life to Jesus, to my surprise He has made me an optimist.
Today let’s take “Optimism 101” — a short study of some of the reasons why all Christians can and should be optimistic and thoroughly hopeful.
Acts 10:43 ...everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
- •• Forgiveness of sin for all Christian believers!
- • He casts our sins behind His back ... in the depths of the sea ... as far as the East is from the West. These are all biblical expressions of how completely God is willing to forgive our sins.
- • Christian believer, that should make you feel gratefully optimistic, confident, and hopeful as you ponder one day standing before the Judgment Seat of Christ!
John 1:11-13 ... to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God —  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.
- •• Believers are newborn children of God!
- • 2 Corinthians 6:18 You will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.
- • That gives new meaning to “Our Father...”
- • With humility you can confidently say, “The Creator of all things is my Father in heaven.”
John 10:27-29 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. ]28] I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.  My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.
- •• “Follow [Jesus]” and you will remain eternally safe in the hands of God the Father and Jesus the Son of God.
- • I recall how safe I felt with my earthly Dad around!
Proverbs 12:21 No harm befalls the righteous, but the wicked have their fill of trouble.
KJV: “There shall no evil happen to the just.”
Psalm 91:9-11 If you make the Most High your dwelling ... then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
- •• You can pray with confidence: “Deliver us from evil.”
- • God has promised to protect us. That causes me look on the bright side of things as I ponder the future, even in the face of a world plagued by terrorism.
Luke 10:19 I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.
- •• Victory over the devil!
- • You overcome the devil. Not vice versa.
- • The demons are the ones who tremble, not you! Let the demons be the pessimists, and rightly so! You remain optimistic before God.
Jeremiah 29:10-11 ..."When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will ... bring you back to this place.  For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
- •• God’s plans for you are for good, not evil...to give you hope and a future — after your personal “Babylonian” captivity.
- •• It’s true — “God has a plan for your life.” A good plan. You can walk through this life hopefully and expectantly, knowing that God has good things in mind for you.
Matthew 28:20 [b] “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
- •• You're never alone — He said, “I am with you always.”
- • God the Father will “never leave...[never] forsake.” (Hebrews 13:5)
- • The smallest crowd a believer is ever in is four — you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
2 Peter 1:3-4 His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness....  he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
- •• He’s given us everything we need. Jehovah-Jireh!
- •• He has given us great promises — thousands of them in the Bible.
- •• He has even granted us the privilege of “participat[ing] in the divine nature”!
Revelation 21:3-5a ..."Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them.... He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." [5a] He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!"
- •• God dwelling with us, and we with Him, for all eternity.
- •• No more death, sorrow, pain ... everything new!
Summary of Optimism 101 —
- • All your sins are forgiven.
- • Those who accept Jesus are sons and daughters of God.
- • Follow Jesus, and you are eternally safe.
- • You can confidently pray, “Deliver us from evil.”
- • You have victory over the devil, not him over you.
- • God’s plans for you are good, to give you hope and a future.
- • You’re never alone.
- • God gives you everything you need for life.
- • God makes you thousands of promises.
- • God allows you to participate in His divine nature.
- • In eternity to come, God will dwell among us.
- • There will never again be death, mourning, crying, or pain.
This former pessimist is thanking God for turning me into an eternal optimist! And He can and will do the same for you.
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©2005, 2015, James H. Feeney.
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