A Cheerful Heart

Readers are familiar with our articles which bring hope for the future, especially for all those who walk with Him “by faith and not by sight”. Today, our focus is on THE CHEERFUL HEART.   Consider for a moment, what is the opposite of a cheerful heart? You will agree with me that a cheerful heart is not the same as a sorrowful one. As Christians  we have been called by Jesus to rejoice, even though we live in a chaotic world, to be a blessing for those who live around us.

What is a Cheerful Heart Like?

The Bible tells us that a cheerful heart is a good medicine. (Prov. 17:22)

The word “heart”, according to the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, occurs over one thousand times in the Bible, making it the most common anthropological term in the Scriptures. It denotes a person’s center for both physical and emotional-intellectual-moral activities; sometimes it is used figuratively for any inaccessible thing.

Jonathan Freeman affirms “people generally agree about what they mean by happiness. It is a positive, enduring state that consists of positive feelings including both peace of mind and active pleasures.”

What Is The Source Of Our Joy In The Heart?

Can we seek true joy in what we see, hear and feel, when everything around us appears so transient? No. According to the Bible, especially in I John 2:15, we are not to love the world where the cultural, economical, social and political system tends to turn people away from God.

Were going to discover the real source for joy in the Bible. In John 15:11, we see before Jesus left this world to rejoin His Father in Heaven, that He made a great promise to His followers. Hear what He said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that MY joy might remain in you, and [that] your joy might be full. … (KJV).

Some may use words like, joyful, merry, happy, …etc. to express what is felt in the soul, and some consider that those who experience fun and laughter generally are those who are happy.    However,  without Jesus as Savior there can be no real, permanent joy.   This can only happen when a sinner opens his heart to Jesus.  An extraordinary change takes shape in our lives when we accept the salvation offered by Jesus Christ. Our sins are forgiven and the promise of eternal life is ours. We are reconciled to God through Jesus Christ; the Holy Spirit comes and indwells us.  Since the Holy Ghost remains in us, He produces joy as one of the fruit of the Spirit.  We read in Galatians 5:22,23

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law”.  In the context of chapter five, a clear contrast is drawn  between fleshly sinful desires and the Spirit`s desires. A Christian is to live his life by faith, he is to please God and as such he will assess for himself if that same joy from God`s Spirit is indeed found in his heart.

Now even when we face troubled times, we can rejoice in the Lord. For example, in Acts 16, the apostle Paul and Silas were imprisoned in Philippi.  As they were worshipping the Lord, at midnight, an earthquake caused the prison doors to open,  freeing them to pursue their gospel ministry even further.

How wonderful it would be for you who may be far from God to experience real joy by responding to the claims of Christ and receive the gospel. Oh, come to Jesus and you will experience a cheerful heart and be found among the names written in the book of life.

Make an Effort

 

“Can anything good come from Nazareth?  Asked Nathaniel, “Come and see”, said Philip. (John  1:46)

Nathaniel had asked this question after he had been given an authentic eye witness report about Jesus by Philip.  Philip told Nathaniel, “ we have found the One Moses wrote about in the law, and about whom the prophets also wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph.”  Giving testimony about Christ is what the Holy Spirit prompts us to do when Jesus comes into our hearts.  Because we are saved by the free grace of God, the Christian is to witness for Jesus wherever he goes and to everyone he meets. Evangelism is an on going activity.

Immediately after salvation, changes in the Christian`s life that take place are obvious.  The joy of salvation leads us to rejoice in being with our Savior and to share the gospel with those who are still outside of God.  Philip followed Christ’s example by freely giving his own gospel encounter to Nathaniel and inviting him to see for himself Jesus of Nazareth..  Perhaps Nathaniel had some misconceptions about the town of Nazareth.  Did he have a preconceived idea about it?  We are not sure.  But the geographical location is not what matters the most.  Whether we live in a town or in a countryside, what we do need is Jesus the Nazarene.

Nazareth is situated on the southern range of Lower Galilee, about ten miles from the plain of Esdraelon.  Since Nazareth is located in a basin, you cannot see the surrounding countryside.  But the moment you climb to the edge of this basin….what a view you have! (Unger`s Bible Dictionary, page 857)

The Son of God raised Nazareth to a higher level, not only because he lived there, but also, because of what He declared about Himself.  For example, according to Paul`s testimony before the people, Jesus was revealed under the title of “I am Jesus of Nazareth whom you are persecuting.” Acts 22:8.

If today we testify about the Savior to someone, we need to be able to prove that Jesus is the Messiah that is promised in the Old Testament.  No one sees Jesus in His physical form, so His example should be seen in us.  In Jesus’ sermon on the mount, He exhorted us to shine for Him.  Let`s look in Matthew 5:16 to see what He said:  “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”