Be Of Good Cheer
Are you an optimist or a pessimist? The Bible commands Christians to be optimists and gives reasons for their optimism. Jesus told people often to be of good cheer.
Matthew 9:2: And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.
Jesus knew the man was sick but He told him to be of good cheer anyway. Having one*s sins forgiven is the best reason in the world to be of good cheer. Jesus healed the man later to prove He could forgive sin.
Mark 6:50: For they all saw him, and were troubled. And immediately he talked with them, and saith unto them, Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.
Jesus knew His disciples were in the middle of a storm in their little boat. Before He calmed the storm He told them to be of good cheer.
The presence of the Saviour in our hearts and lives is the best reason we ought to be of good cheer. (Notice I have two best reasons -- but they are one and the same.) We are to be of good cheer even before He solves the problems we have in this world. We are to be of good cheer even if there is a long wait for the problems to be solved. Some problems won*t be solved for us until we get to heaven. But we Christians have the promise that there will be no problems there. And we have the promise of his abiding presence here:
Hebrews 13:5: Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
The phrase be content is also a command. The abiding presence of Jesus is the best reason for us to be content. The presence of Jesus in our hearts and lives is the best thing that can happen to us.
John 16:33: These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Jesus knows that we*ll have tribulation here in the world. But he still commands us to be of good cheer. It is totally logical that we be of good cheer because Jesus has overcome the world.
I have been told it takes many more muscles to frown than it does to smile. It is easier to smile than it is to frown. Smiling saves energy. Frowning burns energy. Being an optimist buoys us up. Being a pessimist drags us down and wears us out.
There are some areas on earth that are below sea level. The Valley of Death in California and Holland come to mind. Spiritually an unbeliever is always below sea-level and a believer is always above sea-level. Here are a few Scriptures about unbelievers that are always below sea-level spiritually:
John 3:36: He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.
Psalms 7:11: God judgeth the righteous, and God is angry with the wicked every day.
Psalms 16:4: Their sorrows shall be multiplied that hasten after another god: their drink offerings of blood will I not offer, nor take up their names into my lips.
Before you were saved, God was angry with you every day. Before I was saved God was angry with me every day. Before we were saved our sorrows were being multiplied. We were not in a good spot.
Romans 8:1 speaks about Christians who are now above sea level spiritually: There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
When an unbeliever is up, he is still below spiritual sea level. When a believer is down, he is still above spiritual sea level. An unbeliever never has anything worth rejoicing over. A believer never has anything worth complaining about.
We have probably all heard a Christian testimony like this: I am happier now when I am sad than I was before when I was happy.
Sometimes when I complain or hear another believer complain I want to scream So what*s the big deal -- aren*t you going to heaven? It*s as if we complain because we don*t have a nickel when we have a billion dollars waiting for us in heaven. Since we Christians are always above sea level spiritually we ought to always be joyful, thankful and content.
1 Thessalonians 5:18: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
Ephesians 5:20: Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Romans 8:28: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Does all things include things that look bad to us? Do we believe that verse? If we do, we should never have a moment of dissatisfaction, inner turmoil, anger, worry or discontent. We will not be perfect in this flesh -- but it ought to be our goal.
John 15:11: These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
Nehemiah 8:10: Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Joyful Christians are stronger and a better testimony. Sourpuss Christians are weaker and a poor testimony.
If we think about the things God commands us to think about in Philippians it will help us to be of good cheer:
Philippians 4:8: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
This is not to say a believer won*t have problems. But we are to remember that God goes with us through them and He knows what we can handle and measures them out to us according to what we need.
2 Timothy 3:12: Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Isaiah 43:2: When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.
Psalms 23:4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
A believer is commanded to empathize with others who are suffering.
Romans 12:15: Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
The Bible does not teach that a believer should not see the reality of the problems or that he should ignore them or pretend they do not exist. A believer should be able to see past the problems . . . beyond the problems to The Saviour, The Problem Solver, who is Himself the Solution.
Hebrews 12:1-2a: Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; . . .
A growing believer should be increasingly aware that he has available the solution to any and all problems in Jesus Christ. After seeing God at work for a number of years, a believer is better able to expect that to continue. Our human eyes won*t always be able to see the good, but God promises it is there.
2 Corinthians 5: 7: (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)
The bad is temporary. The good is eternal.
Romans 8:18: For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18: For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
The flesh only sees problems. Only the renewed spirit can see the solution.
2 Corinthians 4:8-9: We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
Isaiah 26:3: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Perhaps we sometimes need to ask the question David asked in Psalms 42:
Psalms 42:5: Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.
Lamentations 3:24: The LORD is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in him.
Romans 8:38-39: For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
If we have God and His love, what else do we need? In a word, nothing!!
Psalms 16:5-11: The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage. I will bless the LORD, who hath given me counsel: my reins also instruct me in the night seasons. I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
An attitude of peace and contentment is a mark of a growing believer or a mature one. Are we mature believers? With so many precious promises from the Lord, how can we be pessimists? Pessimism is the result of unbelief! A believer should look for good and expect good. A believer has every reason to be optimistic.
Unbelievers do not have the reasons that believers have to be of good cheer. Their cheerfulness will not measure up. I have often noticed that even when unbelievers laugh I can hear an underlying sorrow.
Proverbs 14:13: Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.