Have You Been Overcome By A Spirit Of Pessimism?
What is Pessimism? Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary defines it as an inclination to emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome. What do you have a tendency to emphasize in your life - the positive aspects or the negative ones? Are you always expecting the best to come or the worst?
Satan loves to steal the joy of Bible-believing Christians by always emphasizing to them the adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities that they are facing in their lives.
Are you one of his victims?
Have you allowed him to steal your joy by yielding to this spiritually unhealthy mindset?
Has a Spirit of Pessimism gotten a hold of your soul whereby you are always expecting the worst possible outcome in the things that you face from day to day?
Throughout the Scriptures, we find examples where this Spirit of Pessimism was in operation. Let's study them and their causes and see what wisdom we can glean from God's Word today. May our study help to change our attitude and entire perspective on life and cause us once again to see things as God sees them.
1. Focusing On Affliction
Psalm 116:10-11 says - "I believed, therefore have I spoken: I was greatly afflicted: I said in my haste, All men are liars."
Here we find David weary, despondent, distressed, and full of despair due to the great, sore, highly-oppressive, and long lasting afflictions which he was facing. As can happen to the best of men, his passions got the best of him. In his state of fear, confusion, and amazement, he spoke rashly and harshly about his friends and all men for that matter. In his bewildered frame of mind, he concluded that - "All men are liars." In other words, all are false, counterfeit, unreliable, deceitful, and untrustworthy.
David came to this conclusion because - in his time of need - those who he thought would stand by him, seemed to desert and disown him. Those to whom he showed kindness in the past were nowhere around when he was in need. No one seemed to be there to sympathize or console him in his troubles.
Perhaps you are feeling the same way today. You find yourself in a state of affliction that seems to be everlasting. You see no end of the tunnel, so to speak. If ever there was a time when you needed your friends to comfort you, it is now. But it seems as though all have forsaken and abandoned you to your sorrow and pain. Resultantly, you have developed a negative attitude toward some people or people in general. You promised yourself that you would never trust another or develop a relationship ever again.
But you need to ask yourself the question - Who has told you that "All men are liars" and cannot be trusted or relied on? Was it God or Satan? Is it really true that none can be trusted - that there are no true friends any more to be found?
2. All Is Meaningless
Ecclesiastes 1:2 says - "Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity."
After searching in all of the wrong places for satisfaction and meaning in life, King Solomon came to the conclusion that "all is vanity" - that life is simply a breath or vapor that is quickly passing away, leaving no substantial or lasting result behind.
Is this how you feel today? Do you feel as though your life is insignificant?
If you are a Born-Again believer, then you have believed a lie from Satan for your life has great meaning to all those among whom God sends you.
God has given each one of us a Wonderful Gift called Influence. Everywhere we go, we have the Power to touch people's lives for His Glory and Kingdom.
Don't allow Satan any longer to flood your mind with such negative thoughts - saying that life is empty and meaningless. Your life has purpose. God has a unique plan for you to touch the world. Seek Him for it, and you will find out what it is!
3. Just A Bunch Of Griping
1 Kings 19:4-10 says - "But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers...And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the LORD came to him, and He said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah? And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken Thy covenant, thrown down Thine altars, and slain Thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left..."
Here we have a Burnt-Out Prophet who was weary, faint, exhausted, and feeling very alone and overwhelmed with the work. His depressed state of mind caused him to whine, complain, and become cross with the people of God. All he could see was all of the good that he had done and all of the stubbornness and obstinacy of the people. No one else was zealous for the Lord like him - at least this is what he supposed. Everyone else was backslidden on God. He worked hard for the Lord but seemingly to no avail. He had enough of the people's apostasy and rebellion. It was quitting time for him - "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life..."
Perhaps you are a Minister of the Gospel, and you are feeling very despondent today. You feel as though all of your labor has been in vain. You have become cross with your people because they do not respond to the Truth in the manner that you expect. It seems as though all you can focus on is how much good you have done and how little the people have appreciated it.
Just remember - Elijah's perspective was off. He thought he was the Only One serving the Lord. He found out differently that God still had a remnant - besides the Prophet - who loved him.
Could it be that Satan has sought to steal your joy in the service of the Lord by setting your focus on the wrong things? Don't allow a negative attitude to push you into making a decision that you will some day regret. Take your work before the Lord and allow Him to fill you with His perspective on things.
4. What A Bad Attitude
Numbers 13:25-33 says - "And they returned from searching of the land after forty days. And they went and came to Moses, and to Aaron, and to all the congregation of the children of Israel...and brought back word unto them...and shewed them the fruit of the land. And they told him, and said, We came unto the land whither thou sentest us, and surely it floweth with milk and honey; and this is the fruit of it. Nevertheless the people be strong that dwell in the land, and the cities are walled, and very great: and moreover we saw the children of Anak there...We be not able to go up against the people, for they are stronger than we...The land, through which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature. And there we saw the giants...and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight."
This so-called land "that eateth up the inhabitants" and was filled with "giants" happened to be the Lord's will for His people. This was the land that He promised them from the days of Abraham.
Satan flooded the minds of these ten spies with negative and discouraging thoughts in order to keep them from walking into their blessing. Their focus was not on God and His Mighty Power. All they could see were the difficulties and the impossibilities along the way. Consequently, they suffered severely - they lost out with God and never did see the Promised Land. Everyone of those pessimists died a "loser" in the wilderness.
Perhaps God has spoken a Promise to you and your family at this season. Like the Children of Israel, He may have given you a glimpse of what lies ahead. Be very careful how you react to this revelation from the Lord. You can almost count on Satan standing right beside you - pointing out all the complications and troubles that you will have to undergo along the way. Whatever you do, don't allow a bad attitude to overtake you. Keep your Faith alive and flourishing by staying in the Word and feeding on God's "can do" thoughts.
5. I Feared A Fear
Philippians 4:6 says - "Be careful for nothing..."
Some people have been greatly blessed of the Lord, but you would never know it for they can never be at ease in their spirits to enjoy their blessings. They are constantly tormented by a Spirit of Fear - telling them how this or that could happen to steal their blessing. They live under a constant dread. They look for troubles to come. They anticipate the worst happening.
Is the Devil robbing you today of your blessings? Perhaps you cannot even see how God has blessed you and your family because you are always focusing on the troubles. Because you have encountered misfortune in the past, you now have a dread or fear at the slightest wrong coming your way.
God has called you to peace. He wants you to be blessed. He wants you to have joy - "joy unspeakable and full of glory."
Don't allow Satan to rob you.
Look around today and count your blessings.
You will be amazed at how Good the Lord has been to you and your family.
Let the Holy Spirit put a dance in your feet and a shout on your lips.
Kick that ole devil - bringing, fear, depression, and pessimism - out of your house and away from your family.
If in the past, you were one who had the inclination to "emphasize adverse aspects, conditions, and possibilities or to expect the worst possible outcome," then, by the Grace of God, stop it!
Determine from this day forward that you will not be overcome by a Spirit of Pessimism again.
Enjoy your Life.
It's God's Gift to you.