Indulge me as I ruminate some more at the start of this year on the importance of optimism in the Body of Christ? Optimism is critical to the Christian witness – people gravitate toward hope not despair. Churches with an optimist air about them attract those without hope. Churches with a pessimistic flow push people away. And people stay away from them because their lives are already full of bad news, they don’t need to go to a place that adds to it. Jesus’ message was not “you’re gonna die.” His message was “I came so you could live.”
Sometimes when I underscore the sin of negativity, people fire back that they can’t change and that’s just who they are and its the “temperament” God has given them – that it’s just like some people are introverts and others extroverts, some are positive and others are negative.
What do you think, can a person who is a pessimist change into an optimist? I’d say… absolutely! Maybe I should ask it this way… can Jesus turn a pessimist into an optimist? We sang about this just this morning… he turns our mourning into dancing. If we can’t change and this is who we are forever-and-ever-amen, then heaven is going to be hard for the glass-half-empty-crowd. I’m pretty sure those with the Lord right now in the life after aren’t lamenting about what’s lacking. And we have the Lord right now, so what’s our excuse?
The believer has two natures, the old nature is fallen. Pessimism is a product of the fallen nature. But we aren’t to live according to that nature. Starve it and it will die. And feed your new nature in Christ. Take every thought captive and make it submit to the life of Jesus in you. Oh Yeah! ’08 is an attitude.