Have you noticed that I like to be joyful, happy? I like to laugh and have a good time. I learned that from my dad who used to say, “We’re only going this way once; we might as well make the most of it!” Of course, Dad meant that within a totally Christian lifestyle.
Should we be serious? Yes, but we don’t have to somber to be serious. Just after the North lost a major battle in the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln told a joke in Congress and was challenged by his Secretary of State.
“Mr. President, don’t you think you ought to be serious in a time like this?”
President Lincoln replied, “If I took everything serious, I would lose my mind.” Lincoln understood that a little humor alleviated a lot of mental turmoil.
We sometimes forget that God’s original intention for all mankind was to be joyful, happy while we fulfill His will for our lives – even if we encountered difficulties.
Do you know that the word joy, its derivatives, and related words are in the Bible over 250 times? God approves of joy and happiness as we serve Him. One of the words is rejoicing which is “celebration of thanksgiving; making happy sounds; laughing, having a good time; being cheerful.”
Proverbs 15:13 tells us that a cheerful heart brings a smile to your face; a sad heart makes it hard to get through the day.
Proverbs 18:14 informs us that the will to live can get you through sickness, but life is difficult with a broken spirit.
Proverbs 15:15 tells it from the opposite viewpoint: “Every day is hard for those who suffer, but a happy heart is like a continual feast.” In other words, even if we’re poor and are struggling, a cheerful heart fills the day with song.
Proverbs 17:22 says, “A happy heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit drains your strength.” And I have found that a cheerful disposition is good for our health, but gloom and doom leave us bone-tired.
If you find that the cares of life are getting you down, remember the prayer of Francis of Assissi. It goes something like this:
Lord, grant me the strength to change the things I can change;
Grant me the courage to accept the things I cannot change;
And grant me the wisdom to know the difference.
Keep in mind that facing each situation with a cheerful disposition can make the difference between success or failure.
A truly joyful person is one who can enjoy the scenery even on a detour. Some of Carol’s and my more enjoyable traveling moments have been on routes we didn’t plan on, and it happened again just today. When things seem to go wrong, we try to find the good in it.
Normally, joyful people are healthier, they are more creative, they are more alert, and are more fun to be around. Why? Joyful people enjoy life! And joy is contagious. (So is depression, and that’s a problem!)
Joyful people don’t usually get stopped by negative influences, but more freely release or express the creativity that our Lord placed within them. Joyful people are generally more productive because they are prone to stay focused on what God wants them to do in this life.
It says in Nehemiah 8:10, “Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
That last phrase could be translated, “…for the joy that the Lord gives you will make you strong.”
Forget Murphy’s Law that says, anything that can go wrong will go wrong. That’s pessimistic and can slow you down. Instead, think about how you can make things right.
Let’s focus on and dwell on the last part of Romans 8:28, “…And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
So let the joy of the Lord saturate your bones, your mind, your spirit. If something seems to go wrong, turn to God and ask Him for understanding and guidance; and then you be the human element that turns things around for the better.
Join me on the positive side of life.