“Look on the bright side.” Is this an annoying cliché that is irrelevant, or is it good advice? Interpreting this statement as sound advice is a good idea. Skepticism will not lift our spirits. Negativity does not encourage hopefulness and focusing on the difficulty can cause defeat. Choosing to think positively and pro-actively looking for the light enables us to step out of the darkness. When the demanding responsibilities and cares of life are darkly overwhelming, positive focus on “the light of life” will restore hope and ultimately bring help. (John 8:12)
The word of God teaches us that joy is synonymous with strength. The two are very closely related. “The joy of the Lord is my strength.” Webster defines strength as “the quality or property of being strong; power; force; physical vitality, to sustain the application of force without yielding or braking solidity; tenacity; toughness. Power in general; operative energy; ability to do or bear.” Forgiving ourselves and forgiving others, making peace with God, letting go of the past, and choosing to think happy, productive thoughts brings joy.
Jesus said, “I have come as a light into the world, that whoever believes in Me should not abide in darkness.” (John 12:46) “Looking on the bright side” provides an opportunity to see our way out of the blinding dark, into hope and a renewed determination to not only survive, but to live life to its fullness and to thrive. It is a powerful and an amazing reality that we can choose to be happy and optimistic in spite of our circumstances.
Paul sums it up nicely in his letter to the church. When the apostle was ministering, Philippi was a Roman colony and a military outpost. The citizens of this colony were regarded as citizens of Rome. Because it was a military city and not a commercial center, at the time there were not enough Jews living there for a synagogue. At one time, Paul and Silas were beaten and put in prison there, yet in his letter to the Philippian believers, Paul said, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—mediate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Philippians 4:8,9) Paul continued his letter, adding, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Clearly he chose to “look on the bright side” and because of that determination Paul changed the world. If we determine to look up and follow the “Light,” we will overcome! “Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, ‘Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down.’ And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” (Revelation 12:10, 11)
(Photo credit: © Meagan Church.)