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).

Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef’s sermon Overcoming Pessimism: LISTEN NOW

Check out more from Dr. Michael Youssef, here!

About The Author

Dr. Michael Youssef, Ph.D.

Even before he was born, it is clear that God had a vision for Michael Youssef. His mother was in poor health when she became pregnant with Michael, and because his life was in danger at the time of birth, the doctor recommended terminating the pregnancy. An abortion was scheduled. But God intervened and sent the family pastor to reassure them that God was involved in this pregnancy. He told them not to be afraid and that the child would be "born to serve the Lord." Michael's parents accepted the pastor's message as a message from God and obeyed. His mother gave birth, and lived to see him give his life to the Lord at the age of sixteen.

Believing that God had called him out of Egypt, Michael sought an exit visa in a time in which no university student was allowed to have a passport or leave the country. God intervened again, and miraculously he managed to acquire a visa. He immigrated to Australia, where he studied at Moore Theological College in Sydney, was ordained as a pastor, and met Elizabeth who became his wife.

The Youssefs came to America in 1977, and in 1978 Michael received a master's degree in theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in California. Then he earned a doctorate in social anthropology at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Michael served nearly ten years in the Haggai Institute, traveling around the world more than 32 times, teaching courses in evangelism and leadership. He rose to the position of Managing Director at the age of 31 years. The family settled in Atlanta, and in 1984, Michael became a citizen of the United States, making his dream of many years come true.

He founded The Church of The Apostles in 1987 with fewer than 40 adults with the mission of "Equipping the Saints and Searching for the Lost". The church has since grown to be a congregation of over 3,000 people today. This church has driven the international ministry of Leading the Way. While it is heard by millions at home and abroad, behind every message preached through radio waves, is the heart of a pastor, willing to nurture and care for these people. Clearly God has uniquely equipped Dr. Youssef to speak to a global audience. The path he has taken has given him an understanding and firm grasp of the Scriptures that transcend cultures. He preaches, teaches and calls with a sincere, based on the authority of the inerrant, inspired Word of God. With his personal knowledge of the Holy Land, its history and culture, Dr. Michael Youssef transmits life to listeners all over the world.

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