One of the defining works of the Holy Spirit in the Christian life is the release of an eternal optimism. Despite difficulties, the Apostle Paul was acutely aware of the truth that he carried a message of HOPE, not despair! He called fellow believers ambassadors of that message of hope representing Christ Himself in the world.
That is why, if it is genuine, all evangelism comes out of a context of hope. If we have no hope, then there will be no evangelism. The Bible clearly reveals that the Gospel is eternal good news. The Christian is called to be an apostle (messenger) of hope! That is why in the midst of the darkest hour, a true believer can burst forth into a hymn of praise and adoration of God (Acts 16:25).
This optimism and offer of hope can even be found in the Old Testament structure of the promised land where the Hebrews were instructed to establish cities of refuge for those needing sanctuary and safety. A structural expression in their culture that in God there is always a place we can go to find a realisation of hope. Knowing this personally releases peace and safety.
It’s worth noting that throughout the two chapters of 2 Corinthians quoted above, Paul doesn’t focus on methods for evangelising, but on attitudes. He did so because he knew that a believer, who is inspired out of his/her personal encounter with the love of Christ, brings a positive and inviting attitude to relationships and conversations wherever they arise. S/he will come across in an engaging manner that lifts people towards the Lord because s/he is motivated by a love that sees all people as eternally valuable to Jesus. Such a believer conveys hope because s/he has discovered what is at the core of life and doesn’t want anyone to miss out on knowing Father’s love as revealed and released by Jesus.
Finally, a true believer will also be motivated to bring good news, because s/he knows that one day an account of what s/he has done for the Lord will be required. Ultimately, we are accountable to God; everyone is. So we carry a message of hope with a tinge of the fear of the Lord. We don’t dilute or dismiss the need to have integrity before people and God Himself (2 Cor 5:11). Our lives will be assessed on the basis of how God perceives so, because we have renewed minds, we understand and willingly accept our charge to bear the hope of the world.
I’ve heard it said many times, you can’t be optimistic if you have a misty optic...