To be successful in most any endeavor, we must look at the bright side with a spirit of optimism. All successful people are successful because they made up their minds as to what they wanted to be, and then pursued that field with an optimistic attitude. Many are failures in life because they never make up their mind as to what they are going to do. The same applies to our spiritual life. Paul said, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. 3:2). We need to optimistically set our minds on the spiritual course that God has outlined for us. Some never do this. They remain in a constant state of indecision and never commit themselves to a responsible position in service to Christ.
The apostle Paul suffered so much for the cause of Christ. He was imprisoned frequently, beaten, shipwrecked three times, often hungry, thirsty, cold and naked (2 Cor. 11:23-28). Yet, Paul was able to put the most favorable light on all these happenings, and “anticipated the best possible outcome.” He stated, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor. 4:17). It is indeed a remarkable thing, after all he suffered, that Paul called these afflictions light. That is pure optimism at its best. His goal was not to win at this life but to lose it for the cause of Christ, and he was winning! I’m afraid that if we were suffering only a fraction of what he suffered, we would be inclined to call it a “dreadful load. However, the most severe tribulation and affliction are nothing compared with the glory awaiting us. Hence, Paul could be optimistic, and so can we if we are faithful to God.
The Christian has so much for which to be thankful – redemption, forgiveness, joy, hope, contentment, peace, just to mention a few). He also has something wonderful toward which to look forward – Heaven! Surely, this engenders optimism. We can have the attitude of Paul: “I can do all” things through Christ which strengthens me” (Phil. 4:13). With the strength derived from the Lord, we can face everything in life with an optimistic spirit.
There is no adverse power greater or mightier than God. Therefore, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31) When we contemplate all that is meant in this passage, a warm, secure feeling is produced in our hearts. How wonderfully bright things become! We may lose our relatives, our earthly friends, our health, and our fortune, but the Lord remains, “for he has said, I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Heb. 13:5). That’s a promise that should make all Christians rejoice, even as Paul commanded all Christians to rejoice in the Lord” (Philip 4:4).
“And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every work” (2 Cor. 9:8). If our faith is in God, knowing he is indeed able, we can and should have an optimistic outlook toward the various aspects of life. He has provided salvation (Acts 4:12). In time of temptation, he provides a way of escape (1 Cor. 10:13). In teaching and attempting to convert the lost, he gives patience (1 Cor. 3:7). When we die in the Lord, there is rest provided from our labors, and our works will follow us (Rev. 14:13).
Conclusion: Brethren, don’t be discouraged, but rather let us be content with what we have, knowing the Lord has prepared us a heavenly home! “For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. Therefore, whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s” (Rom 14:8). In other words, we are a winner either way. Nothing and no one can snatch us out of the hands of our Lord and Savior. Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand” (John 10:27,28). How much more secure can we be! Let us therefore make the best of every situation_good or bad, set our spiritual goals, and then, reach forward and achieve them! “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14).