[April 10]--Feelings, Part Two: Who Let The Joy Out?

Prov. 29:6; 15:30; 12:20; 23:24; 10:28

We looked yesterday at one reason why our emotions are important: It can affect our health. For the next few days we’re going to examine some different emotions and see what Solomon tells us about them. Today’s talk is about joy.

One of the cruelest lies which the Enemy foists upon us is the notion that joy, peace, and other positive emotions just “happen” to us, like a case of the flu. Yes, it’s true that you have limited control over emotions as they come upon you. But it’s also true that there are some things which you can do—right now--to cultivate these things. So what can nurture joy?

The first and foremost thing is to develop a right relationship with the Lord. The term which this verse is referring to is righteousness. This is not talking about sinlessness; it’s referring to developing a connection with the Savior and letting him change you from the inside-out. When you do that, he puts a song in your heart like no one else can.

• Next is 15:30. Obviously you want to hang around cheerful people, but what about the “good news”? Well, the best news I ever heard is that God loves me and has paid the penalty for my sin through Jesus Christ. Focusing on that truth certainly puts health in my bones.

Joy is a wonderful benefit of promoting peace. The Lord Jesus also blessed the peacemakers, those who promote reconciliation between people, and especially between God and people. I don’t know about you, but telling people about what my Lord’s done in my life--and could do in theirs--certainly has brought joy to my heart.

• I’ve also experienced the truth of 23:24. As of this writing I haven't been a physical father to anyone, but I’ve been a spiritual “father” by leading people closer to our Lord. The joy I’ve found in watching people grow into more mature followers of Christ is indescribable. And if you’re an actual parent, you have such an opportunity to lead that little one in the direction of righteousness. What more of a blessing do you want out of life?

And finally, here’s what puts a real “spring in my step”: the “prospect” I have as a child of God. Truly any believer can say that the best days are ahead of him, and I can’t wait to see what our Father has planned for us, both in the near future and when we reach our Home.

So in summary, here are the five things I’ve found in Proverbs which cultivate joy: 1) Developing my relationship with my Savior, 2) Focusing on his truth, especially the Good News of his love for me, 3) Telling other people about that Good News, 4) Leading people into a closer walk with him, and 5) Focusing my thoughts on the future that’s just around the corner. Sounds good to me. How about you?

Lord Jesus, you're my Joy, the Lifter of my head. Whatever it takes to walk closer to you, I want it. Please.

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