Pessimism is a cunning enemy of a growing faith in Christ. One of the reasons it is so sneaky is that there are times when it masquerades as a virtue. We call it discernment, cautious wisdom, and sometimes even a realistic worldview. At its core, pessimism is unbelief. It is a lack of faith in God and His ability or desire to keep His promises.
A great example of pessimism rightly labeled is found in Mark 9. A father brings his possessed son to Jesus and says, “[I]f you can do anything, take pity on us and help us” (v. 22). Jesus responds by saying, “‘If you can’? . . . Everything is possible for one who believes” (v. 23). In a moment of clarity, the father cries out, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (v. 24). Face to face with Christ, the father had to admit that the issue was with his faith and not with Jesus’ power.
Deliverance from pessimism is possible. We see it in the apostle Thomas’ life. Thomas had a history of unbelief, so much so that he is often referred to as “doubting Thomas.” Jesus defeated pessimism in Thomas’ life, giving us insight into how Christ can defeat it in our own lives.
The first step in defeating pessimism is understanding who you are in Christ. Thomas was specifically called by Jesus to be one of His disciples. Knowing that he was chosen by the Lord Jesus Christ and that he was loved unconditionally by Him was the first step in Thomas’ transformation.
It can be the beginning for us, as well. God called us to be His own because of His great love for us and His unique design for each of our lives. We are loved specially and unconditionally by His grace, and the God of the universe holds each one of us forever in His hand. There is nothing we can do to affect God’s calling. He freely called us because we are special to Him.
Prayer: Lord, I admit that at times I struggle with unbelief like the father with the possessed son, but today I cry out, “Help my unbelief!” Thank You for Your love for me and for the calling You’ve placed on my life. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1).
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