“A joyful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
Proverbs 17:22, ESV
We have from ‘King Solomon’s mines’ a truth regarding joy. Whether we acknowledge its truth, or not, we find its effects on us to be binding. “A joyful heart” is like medicine for our souls. There are many issues that afflict us, many things that trouble us. I find within myself a veritable zoo. But there is a sure and ready relief.
“Worry, fear, distrust, care-all are poisonous! joy is balm and healing, and if you will but rejoice, God will give power. He has commanded you to be glad and rejoice, and He never fails to sustain His children in keeping His commandments. Rejoice in the Lord always, He says. This means no matter how sad, how tempted, how sick, how suffering you are, rejoice in the Lord just where you are-and begin this moment. The joy of the Lord is the strength of our body, The gladness of Jesus, the balm for our pain, His life and His fullness, our fountain of healing, His joy, our elixir for body and brain.”
For those among us who struggle so, we find a treatment plan that will work. There is an active ingredient within a joyful heart that heals and protects our souls. Real joy— applied frequently to our aching souls— provides something quite like medicine to someone quite ill. I’m no snake oil salesman. Nor am I into herbs and vitamins. (I suppose I could be a little more aware.) But I know that this principle is true.
“A crushed spirit dries up the bones.” We know first-hand that this is true. There is a ‘crushing’ wound that can breakdown our spirits and bodies. We are simply overwhelmed by life and we experience a crumbling and mashing of our personalities. We are as sick in our ‘bones’ as we might be physically. Now there is a huge difference between a physical illness and a spiritual one, but the factual principles are the same. The pain is different, but is it not similar?
A joyful heart is the pharmaceutical of choice for treating diseases of the personality and spirit. Sometimes we are unwell because we ignore the prescription. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10) Joy in the deepest part of us is almost always:
- God-honoring, and
If this is true, then we do well to ‘give it a whirl.’
“The joyless Christian reveals himself by having negative thoughts and talk about others, in a lack of concern for others welfare, and a failure to intercede on others behalf. Joyless believers are self-centered, selfish, proud, and often vengeful and their self-centeredness inevitably manifests itself in prayerlessness.”