A joyful heart

tulips-52125_640Proverbs 17:22: A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

We cannot argue against the link between the emotion and health, science has even established it. The focus verse says a heart with joy is as good as medicine. Nehemiah told some people that the joy of the Lord is their strength (Nehemiah 8:10). There is therefore a link between joy and health, and zest. When you are sad, your energy will be at low ebb.

If people around you are constantly talking down on you, excluding you, isolating you, mocking you, such negative emotional experience may likely play out in your body, depending on the strength of the fence you have built around your heart.

From the heart, the bible says, are the issue of life. It is the source of your vitality (Proverbs 4:20-23), so it should be protected. If you do not protect your heart, and allow what people say to you, act, towards you get to you, then joy will leak from your heart, and sadness and depression, will find their way in.

That is why John prayed for the Gaius, that he will prosper and be in health, as his soul prospers (3John 1:2). He links the condition of his soul/heart with the condition of his body.

The relationship between bearing guilt and ill-health was established by the word of James. He said if anyone is sick he should call the elders and the prayer of faith save the sick, and if he has committed any sin he should confess his sins and he will be forgiven. The point is: you need to stop bearing guilt so that you might stop bearing sickness.

James linked illness with un-confessed sin, and it may even be sin confessed but you have allowed the devil to beat you on the head with guilt-feeling, and unending self-recrimination, as he steals your joy and it may be only a matter of time that your body is affected, or even your mind (James 5:13-16).

But, it’s not that sickness is always caused by any personal sin, Jesus said that it was not because of the sin of the man born blind that he was in the condition, it was so that God will be glorified (John 9:1-5).

However it is clear that guilt has the power to depress the immune system (the bodies’ natural defence). David said that when he did not confess his sin, his bone wastes away. That means his physical strength diminished, his stability decreases. What David said could also relate to the immune system which is related to the bones, where the precursor cells that form the blood cells, part of which is (most of) the white blood cells (body’s soldiers) are formed. The bone wasting away means it dries up, its functions affected.

Health is part of the provision in the work of Jesus in his sacrifice. That sacrifice also has to do with guilt. The bible says: by his stripes we were healed. He was declared guilty so that we might become guilt-free. If we do not accept his guilt free offer, it means we have not accepted his healing offer. Both are intertwined (Isaiah 53).

The beatings he received were because of our wrong doings. He was made to bear the condemnation, while we have the freedom. As the sun of righteousness, when he rose up from the dead, he released rays of healing, as we are set free from the weight of guilt and condemnation (Malachi 4:1-3).

The bible says that we are free from condemnation because the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set us free from the law of sin and death (Romans 8:1-2). Sin was our influence, now our influence is the Spirit, death was our reality but life is now our reality; and death is manifested in small doses as sickness, while life manifest in small measure in health. So when the issue of sin and guilt was taken from the equation, we are able to walk free, back to the embrace of the father, in full experience of healing.

Jesus rejoiced in the spirit that God revealed things of babes, his disciples, and not to the experts of that time, the Pharisees (Luke 10:21). It is not the most flattering words to be described as babes. But it seems that is important to God, so much that he said that if we are not converted and be like a child, we would not see the kingdom of God (Matthew 18:3).

A child is naturally joyful. Joy was weaved into the fabric of our being as children, but life’s experiences, negative ones, do strike away at that joy. And as a measure to counteract it, we are offered joy as a fruit of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23), and that means our emotional tone is marked by the Spirit, not by our experiences.

We may actually be called mad, because we rejoice in tribulation (James 1:1-3). We have an unusual capacity for emotional stability, with the anchor our soul coming from the very presence of God (Hebrews 6:19), with our intimate union with God as the source of our joy. And God’s mood towards is always constant, like that of a groom for his newlywed.

Paul said that the kingdom of God is not in meat and drink but in righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit (Romans 14:17). That shows that peace and righteousness are connected with joy. Peace with God does not exist until the issue of sin is rested. And that cannot happen for you except you take as a gift, the righteousness of Jesus (2Corinthians 5:21).

There is no righteous act that we output on our own that can please God. It will always be coloured with the rebellion of Adam in the Garden of Eden, whatever we do will be on our own terms since man is disconnected from God and not at peace with him.

When we receive the righteousness of Jesus it comes with the immediate sense of having peace with God (Romans 5:1), and there is a burst of joy in us as we realise that the issues of sin between us and God had been dealt with. We are joyful, as we realise we are back in the embrace of out maker, we have peace with our maker. Joy is the internal reaction to that. And we experience what the bible calls the joy of salvation (Psalm 51:12, Isaiah 12:3).

The bible said that we should not grieve the Holy Spirit, i.e. not make him sad (Ephesians 4:30). Knowing if the Holy Spirit is grieved is not a mystery. Your spirit mimics his mood, and you sense him grieving in you, in your conscience, and your response to that is critical. When the Spirit shifts from his joyful to a grieving mood in you, you can either ignore it, and be desensitised, or you can allow yourself to be pulled in the direction he wants. But note that the Joy you have is the joy of the lord, which blossoms in you as you do his will.

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