A Cheerful Heart

All the days of the oppressed are wretched,
but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.
Proverbs 15:15

Lord, it’s difficult for us to be cheerful day in and day out, especially when circumstances may leave us feeling anything but. It’s on those days, Lord, that we ask You to give us the strength to offer a smile to someone, to look on the brighter side of an issue, and merely to praise You with a cheerful heart. In Your name we pray, amen.

Those who are cheerful promote a feeling of cheer in others. If you have a cheerful heart, it will probably show on your face. It’s hard to promote a feeling of cheer with a frown or a grumble, but as trite as it seems, a smile really can turn someone else’s frown upside down.

Here are some anonymous quotes about smiles to bring one to your face:

A smile is an inexpensive facelift.

A smile is the light in the window of your face that tells people you’re at home.

It takes 17 muscles to smile and 43 to frown. So smile—it’s easier!

Wrinkles are there to tell us where smiles have been.

If you see someone without a smile, give them one of yours.

No one likes the fake cheerfulness we encounter day to day—the “have a nice day” comment from the person who just ignored us for hours, or the insincere smile from a person who is seething inside. But we all respond positively to a genuine smile on the face of someone with a cheerful heart, and we all feel better when we are cheerful. In fact, studies have proven that those with a positive, sunny outlook on life are most likely to have long, satisfying lives.

Walking through life with a positive attitude makes it possible to weather many difficulties, and keeping a sense of humor in the face of adversity has saved many from succumbing to depression. Of course, those who receive their joy from the Lord have a genuine reason to be cheerful.

Authentic cheerfulness may show on our faces when we smile, but it originates in our hearts. Once the heart knows the true joy that comes from a personal relationship with God, that joy pervades our entire body, all the way to our bones, as we read in Proverbs, and we can be cheerful on even the most challenging of days.

Several times in the gospels it is recorded that Jesus said to His disciples, “be of good cheer.” He gave this instruction in times of peril, as in the raging storm described in Matthew 14:27 (KJV). It reads, But straightway Jesus spake unto them saying, “Be of good cheer; it is I, be not afraid.” In John 16:33 (KJV), just before His death on the cross, Jesus encouraged the disciples by saying, “In this world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”

Other versions of the Bible translate Jesus’ exhortation to be of good cheer differently. In the NIV, the Matthew verse about the storm reads “Take courage!” and the verse in John about tribulation reads “But take heart!”

It is impossible for us to be cheerful unless we also have courage and take heart. Authentic cheerfulness is an act of courage, especially when we find ourselves in situations that more naturally lend themselves to a grumbling spirit than to cheerfulness. But we don’t lose heart, because we know that with Jesus on our side it is possible to be of good cheer whatever storm or trouble may come our way.

Your Turn

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How can you have a cheerful heart in troubling times?

by Nancey Brummette

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Nancy Parker Brummett first led a Bible study in an assisted living setting in 1999 and she and the Lord developed The Hope of Glory in the years that followed. She also journeyed with her mother and mother-in-law through their adventures in aging, and her academic interest in aging led her to receive the Professional Certificate of Gerontology from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs. The author of four other books, she now focuses her writing and speaking ministries on her passion for older adults and those who care for them. To learn more about Nancy’s life and work or to subscribe to her blog on aging issues, Take My Hand Again, visit her website.

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.