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.

A Christian’s Influence in a Pluralistic Society

Below is a written response to a question that was given to four young adults who recently received believer’s baptism. Alejandra who was saved several weeks before has been a good reminder of what God can and still is doing in our youth.

Q – Alejandra, how do you hope God would use you to change the perception that people have about Christianity today?

As a former enthusiast in the disciplines of thought and philosophy, I have become very aware of the arguments (that I supported at one time) non-Christians have made against God and the church. It has led me only to believe this: that philosophy may be deep knowledge to a man but shallow when compared to God’s; what I mean when I say this, that it is not just because we are limited, but philosophy tries to replace God. In a real sense life then becomes incomplete and purposeless, much like what we are experiencing now in today`s pluralistic society. Many philosophies are built on the idea that we have the right to voice our opinions, and while this may seem respectful, it has opened up a pandora`s box. While many opinions exist today and while all men are equal, the truth is that though all men are equal, all their ideas are not. Yet, our society has become so tolerant toward each others beliefs that it has gone beyond the point of reasonableness. As this insatiable demand to be heard or what some consider to be our inherent freedom to “speak our minds” increases, so too does man`s pridefulness, which Satan often commandeers to channel us away from truth.

For instance, some who talk about religion may insist that it’s the bible that they speak from, yet pride leads these same individuals to discredit the name of Christ, often because of their false doctrine and fake humility. If, the truth be known they really are in it for themselves. Whereas “actions speak louder than words” is a familiar truism, in Christ we can see that both His actions and words were consistent throughout his ministry and life, and He is the one who we must mimic if we are really his followers. Now we may not be able to perform miracles but we can let God’s light shine through us, in a world where one foul perceived word could get you sued. While there are people who are not afraid to publicly criticize God and his children, Christians must make sure that our response to their insults are not vindictive. However, to say nothing in return would be folly since to keep silent would be to perform a great disservice to His cause.

Christians today may have growned thinned skin. Be reminded, that insofar as we follow a king with scars surely we will carry scars too due to our relationship to Him as His disciples. So as Christians we cannot afford to get lost in the crowd, every time a hint of frustration comes our way. Far too often we cringe at the notion that my reaction might push others away from God. Although, I do not wish to hold apologetic debates with people every time opposition shows itself, there will be times that the joy and hope that comes from having God in my life will speak for itself. My Christian character, my activities, everything about my life in general should be a reflection of my faith in Christ, for without God I am nothing. The world may criticize God, but to be honest that means little to me since I will always remember the miracle that He did for me. You can take every item that I own but I thank God that no one can ever take my Jesus from me. People may look to faltering sentiments to bring them comfort as they near the grave, but I have God’s grace and mercy and that is truly all anyone ever needs in this life.

Submitted by Alejandra Luengas-Santos at her baptism