What thoughts are in our minds? Have we had losses in our lives? Has someone hurt us with their words or actions? Have we suffered from lack, sickness, discouragement, and disappointment? All these thoughts go into our hearts and can run on a “loop in our minds”, day in and day out…. with seemingly no hope of erasing them. How can we counter-act these images and words? There is an antidote to this negative stress-filled scenario. Is has to do with what we “put” into our mind’s eye… we CAN fill it with hope. We CAN change the outlook in our minds and hearts with God’s Word.
The book of Proverbs is filled with “issues of the heart”. It tells us to “trust in the LORD with all your heart” and to consider not only “your own understanding”, but to acknowledge God and then “He will make your paths straight.” (Prov. 3:5-6) There have been times in all our lives when our “paths” have not been straight but instead filled with obstacles and delays!
When we read and listen to the Word of God, His words go into our hearts. The Lord encourages us to: “pay attention to my words and be willing to learn; Open your ears to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; Keep them in the center of your heart. For they are life to those who find them And healing and health to all their flesh”. (Proverbs 4:20-22 AMP) Life, healing, and health to all our flesh is a promise when we pay attention to and keep God’s word in the center of our hearts.
The following translations tell us the importance of guarding our hearts:
Proverbs 4:23 (NIV) Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
The Darby Translation: Keep thy heart more than anything that is guarded; for out of it are the issues of life.
All the issues of our life come from what is in our hearts. Everything we do “flows” from what is in our hearts!
Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV) For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
How do we “see” ourselves? Can we laugh at life’s uncertainty? Can we smile when we see someone receive a gift or favor in their circumstances? Are there too many uncomfortable memories? Or have too many negative words been spoken against us so that we have doubts about ourselves? Often a lack of appreciation or lack of kind words can keep our hearts filled with “less than” thoughts about life and all it has to offer for us. What can give us more JOY? What can give us a “merry heart”?
Nehemiah 8:10 says: “Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” The Lord’s JOY is our strength. He never runs out of joy! It is ours for the asking. And His joy will strengthen us.
Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV) A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Proverbs 17:22 (KJV) A merry heart doeth good like medicine:
but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
A merry heart…. Can we really have one? How do we get and keep a merry heart? What we keep in our hearts is important and defines who we are: “A good man produces good deeds from a good heart. And an evil man produces evil deeds from his hidden wickedness. Whatever is in the heart overflows into speech.” (Luke 6:45 TLB)
Jesus tells us to “Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” because He has given us His peace. That is the inheritance Jesus has given to us: His shalom peace which is: peace, provision, protection, health, and wealth from His finished work on the cross. (John 14:27)
Romans 5:1 says that “we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,” and verse 5 continues: “now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
As born-again believers, the love of God HAS BEEN poured out into out hearts! That love can counteract all the negative issues that have come against us. God’s love can keep our heart filled with joy = a merry heart!
What can we do each day to keep the love of God in our hearts?
Here is some daily encouragement: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 TLB)
Begin each day remembering what the Lord Jesus has done for us, given us, and poured out in our hearts. Then walk filled with His joy, His love, and His peace which will shine from your faces from a merry heart.