A joyful heart is good medicine,
But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
by Mark Whitehead
In the movie Elf, Buddy (Will Ferrell) was asked why he was smiling. His response: “I just like to smile, smiling’s my favorite.”
Happiness has many proven medical benefits. Among other things, medical studies over the past several years have shown a decrease in heart rate, decrease in blood pressure, decrease in cardiovascular disease, increase in immune function, decrease in stress hormones, decrease in pain, and longer lives for those who are found to be “happy” or “joyful.”
Long before medical studies proved that happiness is, in fact, good medicine, God gave us Proverbs 17:22. The problem is that this verse does not stop with discussing a person whose heart is full of joy. It goes on to say that a broken spirit “dries up the bones.” It does not take a Hebrew scholar to understand the impact of someone feeling downcast.
Reflecting on this verse, can you say that you have a joyful heart? True joy is only found in Jesus. You see, joy is part of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). You cannot have Biblical joy if you have never accepted Christ. But, once you have this joy, it cannot be taken away based on your circumstances. And a joyful heart is, simply, unexplainable to the world.
Maybe you find yourself in the place of having a broken spirit today. Maybe you remember times when joy flowed out of your pores and you could confidently say (like Buddy) that smiling was your favorite. But, maybe that doesn’t describe your heart right now. You feel broken. Jesus is the ultimate heart-mender. He is the source of all joy.
So, is smiling your favorite? Do others see your joyful heart and want what you have in Jesus?