A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. Proverbs 17:22 (NLT).
Did you hear about the single lady whose favourite verse was the first part of Matthew 16:24: “If any man would come after me …”
Did you laugh? “A glad heart makes a happy face …” Proverbs 15:13 (NLT). Laughter is cholesterol free, contains no saturated fats or MSG, and has no negative side effects. While it may sometimes get you into a little trouble, it’s never been known to start a war or cause someone to commit a crime. In fact it’s just the opposite. Laughter disarms, revives, motivates, encourages and cheers. It’s one of the greatest ways to connect people. And it’s one of the few things the government doesn’t tax!
Here are three good reasons why you should aim to have a cheerful heart:
- A cheerful heart is good for you physically. Psalm 16:9 says, “… my heart is glad, and my … flesh … dwells secure” (ESV). There’s a direct correlation between laughter and health. People who laugh a lot have fewer colds and respiratory diseases. Laughter releases endorphin in your body that boosts the immune system. That’s why people who laugh actually live longer than people who don’t laugh. A Norwegian proverb says, “He who laughs – lasts.”
- A cheerful heart is good for you emotionally. The psalmist says, “… my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices …” Psalm 16:9 (ESV). Are you down in the dumps? A good sense of humour is a powerful weapon in the struggle against discouragement, depression or distress. Catherine Ponder, an American motivational writer says, “A complete revaluation takes place in your physical and emotional being when you’ve laughed and had some fun.” For laughter and worry can’t coexist for long. So don’t let the enemy steal your joy (John 10:10a). Choose to see life through a different lens.
- A cheerful heart is good for you spiritually. “For the happy heart, life is a continual feast” Proverbs 15:15 (NLT). The fruit of the Spirit isn’t lemons. Christians should laugh more than anyone else. Laughter lines around the eyes are just as much a mark of faith as the lines of care and seriousness. After all, the most serious issues have already been dealt with at the cross; death has been swallowed up, forgiveness extended, hope instilled, and eternal life promised.
The French writer, Nicholas Chamfort said, “The most wasted of all days is that on which one has not laughed.” So cultivate a cheerful heart and don’t let the worries of yesterday rob your strength today.