Looking at the different versions of Proverbs 17:22 has helped me to see how important it is to have a cheerful heart. ‘A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength’ (NLT). ‘A happy heart is good medicine, but low spirits sap one’s strength’ (CJB).
Being cheerful not only affects you, but those around you. To be cheerful is to be ready to greet others with a welcome, to offer words of encouragement, to be enthusiastic about jobs or tasks, and to have a positive outlook on the future. People like this are as good as pain relieving medicine.
At times I have gone to work or to a church meeting being in a bit of a grump for whatever reason. But when I changed my attitude to one of being cheerful, I have always come away feeling happy. Those around me have also been cheerful. It’s catching. Being cheerful can not only lift your own spirit, but the spirits of those around you. Having a laugh can break tensions, help people relax and be more open with each other and God. It really does work.
Sometimes life throws some hard stuff at you, and it can be really difficult to keep going, to feel happy or have that sense of joy. I believe we have a part to play in this by going to God and asking Him to help, not necessarily even asking Him to take away the problem, but to give us the strength to get through.
Have you ever felt as if you were in a pit - so overwhelmed by life and issues that you felt miserable and depressed? I have. I felt so down and had no strength to get through the day. Even getting out of bed was an effort. So, what changed for me? I started taking God’s word and saying and believing His promises. Praying and asking God to help me was the key to being joyful in those times. I chose to let God into the difficult areas of my life and let Him do His work. I owned up to my issues, forgave others and myself, and tried to become more like Christ every day. I was praising God in the good and the bad times and being cheerful and joyful.
I have to remind myself daily not to give up. When I feel like rubbish, I choose to remember what God has done, what He is going to do, and that God will never leave me nor abandon me, I thank God for the amazing friends He has put in my life to not only encourage me but to give me a bit of guidance in my life, to give me a gentle kick when I need it. These people are there for me and pray for me. They love and accept me as I am. Do you have friends that the Lord has put into your life who can walk alongside you?
It’s good to have a sense of humour, to have a laugh, to see good in things and not all doom and gloom. God is not a God of doom and gloom. He is a God of love, mercy, grace and forgiveness. God likes to delight in us. We are the apple of His eye. If that doesn’t make you feel cheerful, then what will?
Today I choose to have a cheerful heart!
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for helping me when I struggle, for being there for me all the time, for my friends who lift me up and encourage me when I’m struggling, and for Your unconditional love. Please help me to remember this when I’m down and in a dark place. You are there for me all the time and I can cry out to You. Thank You. Amen.
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