A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken Proverbs 15:13 – 1
But the Spirit produces the fruit of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. There is no law that says these things are wrong – Galatians 5:22-23 -2
While having a telephone discussion I was not very happy about, my friend unexpectedly held a mirror up to my face. I was shocked at what I saw … there was nothing about the ‘beauty of Jesus’ in the angry face that scowled back at me. In that moment I felt ashamed and relieved at the same time and made every effort to ‘un-knit’ my brows. I was suddenly thankful that the matter was being handled over the telephone. We were pleasantly surprised to see that my tone had changed to match my face. Almost immediately, the voice on the other end changed too. I am thankful we were able to resolve the issue but I couldn’t get over what I had seen.
Life can be downright unkind at times. It’s hard to smile through the pain but joy ought to be evident in the life of a Christian. Being joyful does not mean we have no worries. It does not mean things don’t go wrong. Joy does not come from material possessions or social standing. It stems from a right connection with our God and is evident in the life of the believer who bears the fruit of the Spirit. Joy sees beyond the temporary situations of today knowing that better will come. Joy does not give up because of current circumstances but presses forward, keeping the big picture in mind.
I do not believe Jesus was happy to face the horrible death, but “…for the joy set before Him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:2-3 -3 God already knows what I will face today. He will be there with me through every unpleasant circumstance and every unkind encounter. Living according to the Spirit means He directs me and ‘the fruit of the Spirit is … joy”
What is your face saying today? When others look at you, do they see Jesus there? Are you able to handle the wall of problems that come your way often without warning? Does the joy He’s placed within you help to propel you past the issues? When anger is the obvious response, are you able to tap into the joy and peace that comes from Him and let His love be seen in your eyes? Today could be the day God brings about a change in you that causes a change in others. Are you facing an unhappy situation at work, school, church or home? Elsewhere? The good news is, He already knows who and what will cross our paths today… we get to decide how joyfully our hearts will respond and what we will see when the mirror appears in front of us. “A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones” – Proverbs 17:22 -4
Father, I thank you for the very expressive face that You have blessed me with. When I am excited and happy about something, my face says so long before I open my mouth. When I am upset or disappointed, that often shows through too. I know the mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart (Matthew 12:34) so I am careful to guard my thoughts but I confess I am not always as diligent when it comes to what my face is saying when my lips are closed.
May Your joy be so evident in my life that it filters to every area especially in difficult circumstances. Many I will meet have not yet met You. Help me to live so that Your joy and Your beauty will show on my face. As Your child, I ought to reflect the relationship I have with You. I know I will still have to face unpleasant circumstances but I choose to be joyful even when I am not happy – happiness comes from what’s around me but joy comes from You. Amen
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(1, 4 )Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960,1962,1963,1968,1971,1972,1973,1975,1977,1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
(2)Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”
(3)THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.