Christian is not a negative religion. The world—very unfortunately—sees God’s word, Christ’s church, and Christians generally as very negative—a religion of “No”. We know why, of course; God often says, “No,” to the evil and harmful things that people in the world seem to love, but which hurt themselves and others, and violate God’s very nature. However, those who know the Lord understand that Christianity is very positive—and more than merely optimistic, it is full of faith and hope! The very things that make men pessimistic, cynical, curmudgeon-like, and defeatist have no power over the Christian!
For example, Christian know that our troubles will ultimately be turned upside down, if we follow the Lord’s commands. Paul reminds us, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NAS95). There is no problem so difficult that God cannot fix it, if we are willing to follow His solution.
And of course, one of the two greatest problems that man has ever had to face is death (the other being sin)—the Lord has solved it! While other religions may make a claim to some sort of afterlife and “salvation”, Christianity has proven it through the resurrection of Jesus. Let that sink in; the event in this world that brings the most sorrow and dread has been solved! “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” (1 Corinthians 15:55, NAS95). Death is not the end of existence; there is much more. And for the Christian, the “much more” is more wonderful than words can express. With this sort of hope, it’s hard to threaten a Christian with death!
And here’s another, the nature of individual men can be changed! In Jesus, where a new kind of life is revealed, a clean slate is offered, and forgiveness is bestowed, the lives of men and women can be radically changed, not just for the better but for the best! God’s word and Jesus’ cross can make amazing changes in individuals and in the world, when it is sown into the hearts of men and men submit to it. God through Isaiah said, “So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, NAS95).
There is real joy in the fellowship of the saved. There is delight found in the commands of the Lord. There is hope for men in this world and iron-clad hope for the world to come. Even when we are persecuted in this world, we are confident in our victory, overcoming evil with good. We have abundant reasons to be joyful rather than cynical, dark, or suspicious.
And when we do dwell on the joy, on the hope, on the faith; we discover a strength for perseverance, endurance, and zeal in doing the Lord’s will—“Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”” (Nehemiah 8:10, NAS95).
This week, ponder the positive, enjoy the joy, and affirm the affirmative in your Christian life! Let that joy shine; people will wonder what you’re smiling about—and you can tell them. God is so very good, and He has given to us the hope, the peace, and the joy that cannot be touched by the world—if we don’t let it.