Monday, February 23, 2009

Do You Have a Happy Heart?

Proverbs 17:22 NIV: A cheerful heart is good medicine
The Message Translation: A cheerful disposition is good for your health

I know we don't usually take verses like this literally, however, I believe God included them in the Bible because that is exactly what we need to do. I have talked in a previous post about scientific research and studies that have proven that positive, happy thoughts activate our parasympathetic nervous system, which rebuilds, heals and nourishes our bodies. (You can read my post dated November 10, 2008 - "An Attitude of Gratitude")

Suffice it to say that your parasympathetic nervous system stimulates your immune and digestive systems. It's pretty easy to believe that is true. Just recall a time when you were upset and worried about something. Chances are very great that you either experienced indigestion, lost your appetite or had a stomach ache! Our body systems are created to work together harmoniously and when one is affected, so are all the rest.

Research actually shows that probiotics - the good bacteria that populate your digestive tract - and enzymes - the chemicals your pancreas produces in order to digest your foods - are not produced and actually die in the body of a person who is constantly sad and worrying! That's amazing when you really think about it. You can take probiotic and enzyme supplements by the handful, but if you are constantly worrying (which at it's most basic level is simply trusting more in evil's ability to harm you than in God's ability to protect you) and sad (focusing on what you lack rather than all you have), your body is unable to produce these powerful substances that are critical to health.

We are told repeatedly in scripture, "do not worry" - about what to eat, what we'll wear, about tomorrow, about what to say in your own defense. Why? Because worrying accomplishes nothing positive, and only diverts our focus from God, Who is the solution. Now we know, it even causes our bodies to malfunction at their most basic level!

Everyone of us feels sad at times. Our emotions are affected by circumstances and that's just a part of life. However, if we are constantly sad - then we are actually in disobedience. Look at John 16:33 in the Amplified Bible. Jesus, Himself, tells us: In the world you have tribulation and trials and distress and frustration; but be of good cheer {take courage; be confident, certain, undaunted}! For I have overcome the world. {I have deprived it of power to harm you and have conquered it for you.} Joyce Meyer always says it this way: Calm down and cheer up!!

If the joy of the Lord is our strength, as Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, then sadness weakens us and research is proving that to be true! These are certainly difficult times we live in. There are many reasons to slip into worry, despair and sadness. While we are only human and those emotions may get the best of us at times, we can make a different choice.

The Father encourages us to be of good cheer and cultivate a merry heart. We would be wise to do just that.

1 comment:

I'm Chris ... said...

That's great advice -- especially during a time in which it seems we're barraged with a constant string of bad news!