Christian Living

Spiritual Life

A Cure for Cynicism

During this harsh season of transition and shaking, it’s easy to turn cynical. 

"Cynic: a person who believes that only selfishness motivates human actions and who disbelieves in or minimizes selfless acts or disinterested [unbiased] points of view. Attitude." - Dictionary.com

A word search for "cynic" in Biblehub.com led me to only one verse, where Jacob/Israel had turned cynical during the many years he believed Joseph was dead. 

“[Jacob's sons] informed their father, ‘Joseph is still alive! As a matter of fact, he's ruling the entire land of Egypt.’ But Jacob didn't believe them, because he had become cynical [his heart had become numb]” (Genesis 45:26 ISV).

If you lost the son of your dreams, born from the wife of your dreams who also died ... that might numb your heart too, And think of Joseph's two "unfulfilled" prophetic dreams that his father had once pondered in his heart (Genesis 37:5-11). I fully understand his cynicism. 

Oh, the joys of those who do not... join in with mockers. But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-3 NLT) emphasis added.

Never wither? How can I know for sure if I’m following God’s ways, as one who meditates on His Word? Here’s my litmus test: Am I bearing fruit in every season of life and prosperous? Or am I dry and fainting—like Jacob?

So, let's talk about us today; I’ll go first. A while back, as I was meditating on God's Word daily, as usual, and praying (in both mind and Spirit), as usual, yet I suddenly became aware that I wasn't bearing fruit in some areas, and I felt “dry and fainting.” Where was the chink in my armor? At what point had my godly meditation changed course? My deep passion is to stay true to God's word and follow His ways, so I asked for Holy Spirit's insight. 

The Spirit whispered one word: cynical. (O the sweetness of godly conviction!) He then explained that “Cynicism comes from repeated wounding, from hope deferred, trust broken, doused optimism, and shaken beliefs.” 

Which of those five descriptions strike home for you?

During that dreadful, grievous season when Joseph was missing from Jacob’s life (over 13 years?), God was working behind the scenes. He was training up and positioning Joseph to save all of Israel, as well as restore the son to the father. The reader sees this, but Jacob did not. God saw both.

God still sees both. 

He sees what's happening to you, to America and the world, right now, and He sees intimately what's going on behind the scenes where He’s vastly at work, flipping the tables on the enemy’s schemes. And we are about to see all His work manifest! ... unless the bitterness of cynicism has taken root in our thinking.

What’s the opposite of cynical? Believing, hopeful, optimistic, trusting, undoubting. The nature of Jesus reflects all five. 

After repenting from my cynicism, I received new instructions from Holy Spirit: to verbally declare these five words over myself, and to own them. I am believing, I am hopeful, I am optimistic, I am...

Father forgive me for being cynical. Holy Spirit, restore in me these five virtues. Heal my heart in these areas and restore me. In Jesus's name.

Copyright © March 2021 by J. A. Marx, used with permission.

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