Have you ever noticed that many people seem to focus on what is bad in their lives instead of what is good? Maybe that’s because we keep trying to fix the bad; that’s the part of our lives that needs the work. If we’re not trying to fix it (perhaps because we know that it is beyond our ability to change the situation), we may be trying to understand the reason for it. But all this dwelling on the negative only succeeds in depressing us. Maybe that is the reason that the power of positive thinking has been a topic of self-help books for years—for at least a century that I know about.
Despite the benefits of thinking about the positive aspects, we know that doing so won’t solve all of our problems. In this world we will have trouble. (John 16:33) The Apostle Paul (who also encouraged positive thinking in Philippians 4:8) knew more trouble than most of us will ever encounter, (II Corinthians 11:24-27) so he had some authority to speak on the subject. After careful consideration of all of his hardships, and the troubles faced by fellow Christians, Paul concluded that the glory that will be revealed to us when Christ returns, far outweighs anything that we are facing now. (Romans 8:18) The word that is translated as consider in this verse means to compute or to calculate. It’s not just a passing thought; Paul weighed both sides on a balance and determined that the value of the coming glory would make the present seem as nothing.
We are currently in a state where our soul is redeemed (or can be if we choose to accept God’s gift of grace), but our body is not yet. We are in a race that we must finish before we can fully know the glory that is in store for us. We can, however, draw strength for the course by having our outlook on life shaped by the Holy Spirit instead by our earthly desires. (Romans 8:5) If we, instead of dwelling on our troubles, will put our focus on eternity, it will not only help us to do the more important things in life, but will also help us to see that our present sufferings are temporary and small in comparison to the glory and restoration (Revelation 21:4) that we will enjoy forever.