A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Centuries before the advent of scientific medicine, this proverb recognized a key element of good health and even for curing illness – a joyful heart. Being happy is not a cure-all, of course, but it does play a significant role in reducing the ill effects caused by stress, depression, anger, self-pity, and resentment.
Perhaps this was how the apostle Paul was able to deal with all his sufferings, including some kind of chronic physical ailment. He said, “Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice….do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:4, 6). You may not be able to rejoice in being ill or going through a trial, but you can always rejoice in your salvation, in the grace and mercy of God, in his steadfast love, in his promise of eternal glory, and on and on.
Paul goes on to say, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (4:8). You cannot keep bad things from happening, but you do have a choice as to letting such things dominate your mind and spirit or not. What are you thinking about today – your trials or your blessings? Are you counting what you wish you had or what all God has blessed you with?
And by the way, are you being medicine for someone today? Are you passing on a good word, a kind act that will refresh someone’s spirit? Let the blessings which God has poured out on you in Christ Jesus be passed on to others.
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