Pastor Barry/ The Gathering Church FILLED #1: Half Full To hear this message and others download our free app at the App Store. Search The Gathering Connect.
Half Empty or Half Full? Romans 8:24-39, 15:13, 1 Corinthians 2:9
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? Do you see life’s blessings as being almost full or almost empty? Are you one to say “my life is half gone” or “my life has so much more?” When you get a cough are you one to say “just a little scratchy throat” or one who checks the internet for fatal illnesses related to coughing? Are you one to say “I wish I had this or that or the other” or “I have so much now what can I give?” Do you see the many blessings that God has given or are you always looking for something more?
Being an optimist actually optimizes your living: A recent scientific study at the Boston University’ School of Medicine- found that most optimistic people live an average of 11 to 15 percent longer than their more pessimistic peers. Women who are optimists are also 50 percent more likely to live at least to age 85, while male optimists are 70 percent more likely to live that long. Researchers have found that more optimistic people tend to have lower risk of chronic diseases and premature death. Studies show this holds true regardless of other factors, including socioeconomic status, body mass index, social integration and alcohol use. This research compared results from two independently conducted studies — one that followed nearly 70,000 women for a decade and another that followed about 1,400 men for 30 years. People self-reported their optimism on questionnaires. The findings were published Aug. 26, 2019 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Now there is a difference between a worldly optimism and a Biblical optimism. Worldly optimism is not based on faith in God. Many unbelievers simply refuse to worry because life is more pleasant that way. “Don’t worry; be happy” is their motto. They may place their faith in any number of lesser gods, such as karma, denial, the “universe,” or intentional ignorance. This may work temporarily, but optimism with no real foundation will eventually crumble— That’s not just me being pessimistic it’s written in God’s word!
Whatever tendency you lean towards, God’s word instructs us all to be Biblical optimists. Biblical optimism is the result of faith in the character of God. The Bible refers to this as “hope.” Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” When we hope in God, we put our trust in His sovereign plan above what our circumstances might scream at us. Romans 8:23–35 explains this “unseen hope” which is the Spirit of God who intercedes for God’s people. Paul is speaking of our present help with our weaknesses and our future reward in the things that “God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:9). “So what shall we say then?” If God is for us, then who or what can be against us? We have every reason to not only see our cup of blessing half full but overflowing!
Everything We Need 2 Peter 1:3-11, Hebrews 10:23-25
The Apostle Peter said that the divine power of Christ has given us everything we need. He has given us His great and precious promises so that we can participate in all that is His. We have escaped damnation by salvation in Christ. The corruption (decay, rot) that evil has brought will not destroy us.
For this reason we must stop walking around like we are half empty! On life’s worse day we have all we need. With or without earthly wealth and pleasures we have all we need. In sickness and in health we have all we need. Surrounded by people or alone we have all we need. We live by faith and not by sight. 1 Corinthians 5:7 For this reason we must make every effort to live by faith and to believe in the promises that God has given us as believers. For He who has promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23b). We “spur one another on” towards love and good deeds (continuing to meet with one another). Together we are encouraged to make every effort to grow in goodness, the knowledge of God’s word, self-control, perseverance, godliness, mutual affection for one another and love. These are the things that will pour out of us as believers and spill onto others. Desiring and working on these things will keep us from being ineffective and unproductive in our knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must remember above all that our greatest blessing of all is the salvation (being cleansed from our sins) and eternal promises that we have in Christ.
We can keep from stumbling into being an unthankful pessimist by continuing to walk in faith and making an effort to practice these things at all times. Not only will we receive a rich welcome into Heaven (Matthew 25:31), but we will likely bring many with us who have come to know Christ as a result.
More Than Positive Thinking 1 Peter 5:7, Philippians 4:4-7
Without realizing it, some Christians have a misunderstanding of faith. They may stubbornly cling to the belief that they will receive whatever they want simply because they believe it hard enough. They take care to appear outwardly optimistic because they fear that “negative confessions” might cancel out their prayer requests. Or they simply cling to the notion that there’s power in positive thinking. This is false optimism because it is not based on the sovereign nature of God but on their own ability to believe hard enough to get what they want. This can lead to confusion and disillusionment with God (even doubting salvation) when their requests go unfulfilled.
Regardless of what happens in life real faith knows that God sees, cares, and will “wipe every tear from our eyes” when we are forever with Him (Revelation 21:4). That confidence gives us an optimistic outlook, even on the darkest day. Biblical optimism (Faith) does not place so much emphasis on earthly things. It believes that “all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose(Romans 8:28). Godly hope looks even beyond what we understand (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Biblical optimism (faith) is a choice and it is built up as we practice living by it. Rest in His promises to take care of you the way He sees fit (Philippians 4:19; Luke 12:30–31). “Cast your care upon him” (1 Peter 5:7). Present your requests to God and be exceedingly thankful to Him (Philippians 4:4-7). He is all you need!