I am often asked why I believe so strongly that Christians should be among the world’s most ardent optimists. I normally respond by saying that it is, more than anything else, due to the nature and the character of the God I worship. Most folks leave it at that. On occasion, however, an inquirer might want a bit more detail.
The reasons that I have adopted Christian optimism as my foundational philosophy of life are too many to mention in any short conversation and certainly within the framework of this article. Suffice it to say that once I began to take my walk with Christ seriously and put into practice as best I could a sincere desire to live according to his teachings, the Holy Spirit gradually revealed to me why optimism was the Christian’s inherent approach to life.
As I began to explore scripture through this frame of reference, it is as if the Bible became a living organism, consistently revealing its truths in relation to the nature and character of God. These revelations of God’s love, his faithfulness, and his integrity brought about a positive response in my being and this response flowered into an optimistic approach to life. Over time I came to understand that the optimal way to live is as a Christian optimist. Even our language reflects this reality as optimal and optimism have the same prefix and the same root.
As I said earlier, the confines of this article does not allow for a detailed list of the reasons why I am a Christian optimist. I do, however, want to list a few of the reasons below. Should you desire a more in depth study of the subject, I suggest that you study the Bible, focusing of the nature and character of the Father as revealed in scripture in general and in the persons of Christ and the Holy Spirit in particular.
I am a Christian optimist because:
The Biblical God is a God of love. Further, he loves me.
The God of Scripture loves me with a proactive love, not a passive, indifferent, and conditional type of love. The Bible reveals that God loves me enough to send his only Son to die for me so that I might have life to the fullest and, on top of that, have life eternally.
The God of the Bible further exhibits his proactive love by pursuing me. He chased me down when I ran from him. Consistently acting as the “Hound of Heaven,” the God I worship continues to come and find me when I have strayed from the sheepfold and, wonder of wonders, loves me still.
If ever there was a prodigal on this earth, it is I. Still, my God not only accepts me back after I wander here and there, he comes out on the path to meet me and, in spite of my faithlessness, he celebrates my return. Even though I am undeserving of his love and his grace, he gives it freely.
My God is a God of mercy, not justice. I shudder to think what life would be if I got what I actually deserve.
The Biblical God gave up a part of himself so that I might be forgiven; and he sent another part of himself so that I might live the kind of life he wants me to live. I am optimistic because I am forgiven and I am empowered.
God allows me to partake of his divine nature.
The Christian God has already blessed me with all that I need to live a holy life and has further blessed me by indwelling me with the power to make that life manifest on a daily basis.
The Biblical God has placed within me the same power that raised Jesus from the dead.
The God I worship has made me a New Creation and has promised that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
My God has said that he has prepared even greater things for me in the next world.
The God revealed in Scripture has told me that Christ will, indeed, come again.
Obviously, I could go on and on here but by now I hope you get the picture. As a Christian I have every right to be an optimist. In fact, I could be nothing other than an optimist. Sure, life has problems and will always have problems. The Christian life is not a pleasure cruise. Far from it. Yet in spite of this, I am an optimist because I know that I have the power within me to handle any situation that may arise. God has promised me that he will never make me face more than I can handle.
I am a Christian optimist because he that is within me is greater than he who is in the world.
© L.D. Turner 2009/All Rights Reserved