I encourage you to be cheerful in the Lord
King Solomon observed that “a glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed” (Proverbs 15:13). It’s a sad reality that so many people smile so little. However, what’s worse is that many people fail to see the many reasons we have to be cheerful, especially as the children of God!
Solomon realised life’s great variableness of circumstances, something we humans often struggle with. “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven” …”a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4). We, like Solomon, are capable of experiencing the full array of life while responding appropriately, for the Lord’s glory, and our blessing.
The world typically pays more attention to a Christian’s extreme responses to life, like sadness and joy. While little or no attention is given to our mundane and flat-line responses. Therefore, as an effective evangelistic testimony, we should honour the Lord with our expressions of joy, gratitude, and cheerfulness. Even during times of great pain, the Holy Spirit enables us to distinguish our human struggle from our spiritual security and hope in the Lord, enabling a genuine degree of joy to be expressed in an authentic and appropriate manner.
The apostle James explains how we should respond to extremities; “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise” (James 5:13). Just as seeking God’s mercy during times of suffering is the best action, so praising Him is the highest expression of cheer because; “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights” (James 1:17).
Realism is important
For the most part, cheer is a choice. One we believers are able to make because it is an intrinsic part of our faith character; “the righteous shall be glad; they shall exult before God; they shall be jubilant with joy!” (Psalms 68:3). Meanwhile, the apostle Paul explained to the Corinthian church the balancing factor of Christian reality. “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).
The fact is, “a joyful heart is good medicine,” (Proverbs 17:22) not only for ourselves, but also for those around us, permitting others to participate in the benefit of our joy in the Lord.
I encourage you today, choose to be cheerful in the Lord, and watch others receive the blessing.
Together for Christ: Lincoln Forlong www.bbf.net.nz