Realism is the philosophy of “do-nothings.” The realist, in his constant pursuit to see things for what they are, seldom sees them for what they can become. Pure optimism, on the other hand, is the fanciful flight of denial; it is finding comfort in the fact that one will soon plant his feet solidly on firm ground, even while falling from a twenty story building. Realism and optimism speak little to the life of the believer. The Bible, on the other hand, speaks volumes. In James 1:22 the Scripture reads, “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (KJV). Here the author presents us with a much more solid resource for hope-filled Christianity. We are not to be merely hearers of God’s word, but to be doers of God’s Word.
Staunch realism tells us only how the world is currently; pure optimism is fanciful, seldom taking the facts into account. Following after Christ, listening and doing the Word of God, is a means of seeing the world for what it is, seeing it for what it can become, and changing it. The Christian life is not a one-stop destination of knowledge. Nor is it a whimsical lifestyle of pretending that everything is alright. Christians are sojourners, traveling the dusty trails of life, following after Christ. What He does, I must do. Where He goes, I must go. Our calling is to look like Jesus as He showered love on the unlovely and then to follow Him to the Cross, where we show sacrificial love to a hurting world. Where realism fails in its cynicism and where optimism fails in its denial of reality, following after Christ is a means of changing the world, one pilgrim’s step at a time.