Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Medicinal Joy

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

People unfamiliar with the Bible are likely to be familiar with the first half of Proverbs 17:22 - A joyful heart is good medicine. Not too long ago, I read a study that said cheerful people live longer than perpetually grumpy or unhappy people. Studies come out with that kind of message all the time. 

Research confirms what God’s people have known for ages. There are benefits for those who live joyfully. I’m not talking about frivolity or party-time, and I’m certainly not referring to an attitude that ignores the difficulties of life. Concerning this Proverb, Matthew Henry wrote that a joyful heart “means a heart rejoicing in God, and serving him with gladness, and then taking the comfort of outward enjoyments and particularly that of pleasant conversation.” In other words, medicinal joy is found first in the Lord and then in the simple pleasures of life.

The second half of the Proverbs indicates there is an opposite of a joyful heart: “a broken spirit [that] dries up the bones [bones referring to the whole person]. A joyful heart is beneficial to the whole person, a broken spirit is not—it wrings you up and dries you out.

There is no pretense in a joyful heart. It doesn’t pretend all is well. It will grieve at the appropriate times [see Ecclesiastes 3:1-4; 7:2], all the while possessing a deep, enduring peace. A joyful heart is not always characterized with a smile, but even while experiencing difficult circumstances, it is confident that an “absolutely incomparable eternal weight of glory” is being prepared for it [2 Corinthians 4:17].

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

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