A Joyful Heart

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

This verse in Proverbs reminds me of the Nehemiah verse we studied earlier, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Nehemiah describes how joy gives strength; Proverbs explains that joy is also like good medicine helping to cure whatever ails you.

A joyful heart is the kind that is sunny even in cloudy or stormy times. It’s about outlook—glass half full, smile of warmth for others (friends and strangers alike). It is a willing attitude, a positive outlook, a can-do spirit. It’s what to do while you’re waiting to find out what to do. It’s how to act when you’re not sure how to act. It’s how to live while you’re waiting for God to make things clear.

Having a joyful heart is good medicine for you—it’s hard to be depressed and self-focused when your heart is joyful. It’s good medicine for others, for it warms whoever gets hit by the rays of your sunshine.

And it’s a fruit of the Spirit. “The fruit of the Spirit is . . . joy” (Galatians 5:22). You have the Holy Spirit, you have joy. You just have to let it out.

But it’s more than a smile or a cheery attitude—it’s a joyful heart meaning that deep down there’s something going on below whatever storms may be churning outside. It doesn’t paste on a smile and pretend that pain and difficulty and tragedy don’t exist. Instead, it is able to feel the pain but still trust God. It doesn’t allow the difficulty or tragedy to cause a “broken spirit.”

That deep inner joy can take the darkness and, like good medicine, make you feel better.

Misery may love company, but joy is a far better companion. And it makes a far better companion.

Prayer: Thank You that one of the fruits of Your Spirit is joy. It’s there, but sometimes I admit that I just don’t feel it. Today, Lord, make my heart joyful. Make me a ray of sunshine to warm those around me. I’ll take that good medicine and share it with others!

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