Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
Even when facing very difficult circumstances, you can have a joyful and happy heart (15:13)! The benefits will appear on your face, but also on the faces of others as your joy lifts their spirits. I just got off of the phone with a friend of mine whose daughter is in dire need of a miracle. Her liver has shut down, and she is very sick. Yet, he had a joyful heart as I talked with him. He spoke of God's goodness and faithfulness, regardless what happened. He had a joyful, cheerful heart, even in the midst of sadness. That is something you can't work up, or fake.
Heartache not only makes for sad faces, but it crushes the spirit. God is not commanding happiness, for He knows there are times for sobriety (see Ecclesiastes 3:4). The call to joyfulness here in Proverbs is a call to the behavior which makes one happy and avoids heartache, and a reminder that our attitudes are contagious (Prov. 15:13).
Several years ago, there appeared in the newspapers the story of a little boy who had come in contact with a live wire that had been allowed to be unguarded. It touched one side of his face, burning and paralyzing it. In court the boy’s lawyer asked the little fellow to turn toward the jury and smile. He tried. One side of his face smiled, but the injured side puckered up in a hideous and pitiful contortion. The jury took just twenty minutes to award the boy twenty thousand dollars. That was certified as the legal value of a smile.
David H. Fink, author of Release From Nervous Tension, wrote an article for the Coronet Magazine, in which he made a striking suggestion as to how we can overcome mental and emotional tensions.
As a psychiatrist for the Veterans Administration he was familiar with 10,000 case histories in this field. Thousands of people, who were mentally and emotionally “tied up” had asked Dr. Fink for some short, magic-button cure for nervousness. In his search for such a cure he studied two groups; the first group was made up of thousands of people who were suffering from mental and emotional disturbances; the second group contained only those, thousands of them, who were free from such tensions.
Gradually one fact began to stand out: those who suffered from extreme tension had one trait in common—they were habitual faultfinders, constant critics of people and things around them. Whereas the men and women who were free of all tensions were the least faultfinding. It would seem that the habit of criticizing is a prelude or mark of the nervous, and of the mentally unbalanced.
Think of Billy Graham as he preaches. Hundreds of thousands of people who are otherwise hostile to the gospel still watch him on television or attend his crusades because they see in him a conviction and a passion. Even if they do not believe his message, many still listen because they know he believes it. His open gestures and his gentle and fatherly smile are convincing evidence that his message is genuine. No one—kings, presidents, or peasants—feels threatened by Billy Graham, even if they reject his message. Graham makes certain that his manner never gets in the way of his message, but enhances it!
Everyone knows how to smile. It's one of the greatest gifts God has given us. A smile makes people feel good, and people look so beautiful when they smile. When the joy in your life is obvious, it rubs off on others. But when you keep God's joy locked inside you and don't allow it to show on your face, you're depriving those around you of a pleasant and refreshing experience.
Most people really don't understand how expressing joy will change their circumstances and, perhaps, the lives of others. Living your life with the joy of the Lord will chase off negative, depressing circumstances. And when we have His joy deep down inside of us, we can't help but put it on display by smiling!
"Lord, I want to allow Your joy to saturate my inner man, and when it does, it will affect my outer man. Help me to smile, and allow your joy to bring cheer to those who come in contact with me. You already have so many sour, critical, cynical children, so they have that side covered. I want to be on the other side of the spectrum and have a cheerful, joyful, attitude of gratitude...inner peace...that makes its way out to my face, in the form of a smile. I thank You for the people in my life that have taught me that you can have the joy of The Lord, even when facing extreme grief, and sadness. Thank You Jesus for this Word today. I want to have a cheerful heart and face today! I want to affect someone today, the way Billy Graham has affected millions. In Jesus' name, amen!"