A joyful heart is good medicine, But a broken spirit dries up the bones.
There is a healing effect when we are joyful, cheerful people. We read in the above proverb that a joyful heart is good medicine. The word used for "joyful" here is the Hebrew word "sameah" which means, 'to be glad, happy, or joyful.' The idea behind this word is that someone is choosing to rejoice - to consider the good that God has done, rather than the misery and the opportunity to be sad and depressed. That is why we are to seek to maintain a "joyful" heart.
University of Montreal's Institute of Experimental Medicine and Surgery, discovered that when rats are subjected to cold, fatigue, frustration, noise, and other stressful conditions, they develop physical symptoms. Their blood pressure soars and they develop peptic ulcers just to name a few. Other research done by the American Medical Association by a Dr Seyle showed that hatred, frustration, and anxiety are the worst stresses. If you forcefully restrain a normally active rat, deadly frustration results. If you put a mouse and a cat in adjoining cages, the mouse will die of anxiety.
This kind of "broken spirit" will, according to the Lord, dry up the bones. This is a horrible condition because our bones are not only our main source of strength and stability, but they are also the place where our blood is produced. Without our bones we will surely die in short order. What is difficult though is that we cannot go up to someone who is dried up in their affections and tell them to be joyful. That does not help them. They know they are without joy - and can sense the drying up of their vitality. An admonition to stop this is like asking the sun to stop shining simply by requesting it. What they need is a supernatural infusion of joy - or even better an infusing of a joy producing principle that will not go away with the seasons or the up and down existence of being alive.
Where can we obtain joy? That is the million dollar question. Fortunately, we are instructed in where to find joy in the Gospels. We have just celebrated Christmas where the angels announced ‘Do not be afraid, for I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people, for today there has been born for you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.’ Luke 2.
For those afflicted with sorrow, sighing, sadness, and a broken spirit there is wonderful news. Jesus came to bring great joy. He came to give us the oil of joy poured upon our heads rather than a spirit of fainting. The cause of the broken spirit is our separation from God - and its remedy is turning to God through Jesus Christ. That is how we can have our sorrow turned to laughter and our gloom to everlasting joy.
Our Souls need Relationships
“A cord of three strands is not quickly broken” NIV
Even if you didn’t know where it came from you may have heard this saying before as it is used often. Not only is it true in a practical sense, it is also true in a spiritual sense.
Let’s look at this as an analogy for our life. When we look at more of Eccl 4, verses 10 to 12 we can see that there are three ‘strands’ mentioned. If we build a cord of these three strands we too will not be easily broken.
1—The strand of Accountability (V10) The reason why many of us fall or fall away is because we don’t have someone that we are accountable to. We need relationships. If we have people of faith surrounding us, if/when we trip up, we are held to account and it is great to know that there is someone ready to lift us up and help us to be restored.
2– The strand of Unity (V11). The key word here is together. Solomon records that one benefit of ‘together’, is to keep warm. One of the ways we keep God’s love burning in our hearts is by encouraging and inspiring each other. Let’s keep each other’s heart and soul warm by lifting one another up.
3– The strand of Resistance (V12). There is no doubt about it, we will face hardships and challenges. Sometimes we find we are simply ‘battle weary’. When we are tired to the point of being overwhelmed, and at risk of being overpowered, is the time when our brother or sister in Christ can help us stand strong.
Simply, we are not created to be on our own. The beauty of these three strands is that it makes us stronger. If you are not connected in, or maybe you have drifted since COVID and not yet returned. Now is the time to reconnect. Not only will you be made stronger, you will help others be strong.
Let’s be part of a positive relationship with Jesus by doing life with our Church Family. Remember the Holy Trinity? God, Holy Spirit & Jesus—they all work together as our example. The challenge is to join them, aim to be more and more like them. Are you in?
Father, we thank You for Your blessing over us and our Church Family. Help us to be unified. Help us to speak the same language and share the same vision that You have for us. Help us to stand in unity…preferring one another over ourselves and loving You above all else. Thank you that we are all in Your family and that you provide us each other to do life with. We pray a blessing over these relationships. Continue to connect us with like minded people that will sharpen us and bring us to a new level of faith in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen