The joy of the Lord is our strength, unlike the fleeting happiness of the world. Let us rejoice and be glad in each day, each hour He gives us.
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
A Merry Heart
The flu bug took up residence in my whole body, including my brain. Since I couldn’t think clearly but needed a diversion, I watched comedies on my DVD player. Mindless yet entertaining, the I Love Lucy shows made me laugh. I not only enjoyed them, I learned that laughing benefited my health. Those silly movies helped bring healing to my body.
God knows we all need laughter, especially when we’re facing troubled times. Whether we suffer from the flu or emotional pain, we become healthier when we are merry. But merriment comes from joy, not merely from happiness. At times we can’t or shouldn’t be happy, such as when we or others are hurting, grieving or facing other kinds of loss.
Happiness differs from joy. The happiness we feel while watching humorous movies or listening to jokes is fleeting and external. True joy, however, is not an emotion; it’s an attitude. We can choose to be joyful regardless of our circumstances. When we know without doubt that we’re loved, valued and accepted by God, we will be filled with true joy. The Bible records almost 250 times the words rejoice and joyful.
Perhaps the most familiar Bible verse about joy is found in Proverbs 17:22. “A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” The biblical word “merry” means joyful, as opposed to the word “dries,” which denotes withering, confusion or disappointment. None of us sets out to look or act like our bones are withering. We would rather have others see us as joyful. The joy we experience, in spite of what is happening, not only brings personal health, it rubs off onto those around us.
God would not have us be serious all the time. Our joy should be evident in our words and actions. In fact, when we choose to obey and walk in His teachings, joy should be an automatic response to Him. Jesus said, “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) Complete joy comes when a follower of Christ experiences His love.
We may enjoy jokes and humorous movies and benefit from the healing effects of watching them. But only through Christ and His love can we enjoy total healing, Godly joy and peace of mind.
Lord, thank You for giving us a merry heart and for Your indescribable joy that comes in knowing You, obeying You and following after You. In Jesus’ name, amen.