A joyful heart is good medicine. Growing up in a very Christian home, I remember hearing this on an old VHS movie (Major shouts to the 90s kids). But later on, I realized that this was Scripture that was being stored in my head and that had a presence during the most rough times in my life. Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A joyful heart is like medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones”. This is a simple yet powerful verse. It tells us that when we are crushed, and when we can find joy in Jesus, our bones dry up and it’s like we die as a result of a crushed spirit. I for one can attest to the fact that when life hands you major let downs and disappointments, it is so easy to meditate on that rather than the joy that Jesus presents us in the midst of the frustrations.
I don’t know about you all, but I am a huge fan of words. Sometimes, reading a word gets me so stirred up. for instance, in Hebrews 12:2, one of my favorite pieces of Scripture, it tells us, “And let us gaze at Yeshua, him who is The Author and The Perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was his, endured the cross and ignored the shame, and he sits upon the right side of the throne of God”. I do not know why, but when this version says ‘Yeshua’. it makes my heart jump. This is from the Aramaic Bible in Plain English. I need a bible in this version!! But it is so key because we can take our example from Jesus, who took a beating on the cross for our sins, because He knew that there was a much deeper joy waiting for Him in heaven. I am a firm believer that we should seek eternity with the Lord, but I also believe that while we are here, we should experience heaven even on earth. That we can ask the Lord to make our hearts joyful even when the enemy tries to take that joy away.
Romans 12:12 speaks on the major issue of the Christian faith… How to maintain a heart of joy and patience in the midst of trials. It says, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”. I love this because it is not a super deep or long paragraph. It is very simple and profound, as well as very self explanatory. We have joy, patience, hope, and faithfulness because Jesus hands this to us (reference my article on the exchange that happens in worship). This is so key because this will condition our hearts to seek the Lord above seeking revenge or letting the negativity of the enemy bring us down. You know I have to bring in the Psalms. David’s story has to be one of the most powerful stories of redemption and real life for us to learn about. He says in Psalms 16:11, “You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand”. I am blown away by this passage because it encourages me to really seek the higher peace that Christ is offering. That no negative circumstance has power over me, but rather the King of Joy has brought His power and peace and is dancing over me, that we may rest in Him. This should preach to anyone!!!
Overall, God so desires for us to find joy in Him. He wants us to commune and to dine with Him, that we may see how dependable He is, and how much He intercedes on our behalf. It brings me so much gladness that the Master of the universe cares so much for us that He wants us to experience a more fulfilling and deep joy than just a momentary happiness that isn’t real. He wants us to bank on Him, that we can see how He has purposed us all to depend, and find fullness of joy in Him. So I challenge us all to dig in deep. That we may put in the time to renew our minds that we can have joy in the midst of trials, and that joy powers us through into our blessing. Let the God of joy reign in our lives as we move through the week.