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09 Jun '11

Complainers and thankers, optimists and pessimists

Posted by T.J. Addington in faith, personal growth, spiritual formation, The heart, trust
If there are two attitudes that ought to be banished from a believers life they are those of complaining and pessimism. In their place the attitudes of thankfulness and optimism ought to become what characterizes our lives.

Think about this: When we live with complaints and pessimism we deny the amazing gifts and promises of God whose power, love, mercy and concern is far greater than any possible negative issue we could face. Effectively we say to God - "You are not sufficient for my situation." Paul makes that case in Romans 8 where he makes the case that there is no situation in life that can separate us from the "love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:39).

No matter what our situation, how dark our medical prognosis, how seemingly unfair the blows that life has dealt us we live with an amazing reality in Christ. "I pray also that your eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead" (Ephesians 1:18-20). 


If all that is mine through Jesus, what do I have to complain about? How can I live with pessimism for the future? In fact, there is no future I face that is not overwhelmed by my ultimate destiny with Christ which will make everything we face today look small and insignificant: overwhelmed by Him, His presence, and the joy of eternity with Him.


The antidote to complaint and pessimism is thankfulness every day for all that God has done for us along with faith that His power is greater than any challenge we face. This is why the New Testament continually talks about being people of thanksgiving to God. The more we focus on thanksgiving the less we can live with our pessimism and complaints. 


Pessimism and complaining are nothing less than the residual of our lower nature whose focus is on me. Thanksgiving and optimism are indicators of the transforming power of God and a focus on Him. When I focus on me I have plenty to be unhappy about. When I focus on Him, I am overwhelmed by His goodness to me. It really comes down to the focus of our lives.