Proverbs 17:22

A Merry Heart


A merry heart doeth good like a medicine

A. A Merry Heart

1. Heart:

a. It refers to the inner man—including the mind, will, heart,

b. It is the source of life of the inner person in various aspects, with a focus on feelings, thoughts, volition, and other areas of the inner life.

c. It speaks of the immaterial inner self… the inner man as opposed to the body, the outer man.

d. This proverb speaks of a RELATIONSHIP that exists between the inner man and the outer man.

e. We speak of man as being “tripartite” meaning he has body, soul, and spirit.

f. The condition of the soul and spirit on the inside can have an effect on the body—the outside.

g. In this passage, Solomon only speaks of two parts to a human being—the inside and the out… the heart and the body…

h. His point is that they are related and one has an effect on the other.

i. There is such a thing as a psychosomatic relationship that can be beneficial or harmful to our health.

2. Merry:

a. Joyful; glad; delight; contentment; pleasing; cheerful; happy…

b. The term is used to describe the emotions evident at the joyous Jewish festivals, the anointing of a king, the birth of a baby, the reception of blessings from the Lord…

c. It is an inward delight…

d. Who wouldn’t want a merry heart?

e. To be inwardly happy, satisfied, content, delighted, joyous… the whole world strives for that…

f. But in spite of the fact that everyone wants it, it is RARE.

B. Doeth Good

1. A merry heart does GOOD to the one who has it.

a. It is good for you!

b. If you are down physically… dealing with a chronic disease or if you are dealing with a loss or a trial… a good attitude (especially a joyous attitude) is like medicine!

c. The worst of circumstances are lightened and lessened by a merry heart.

2. Good:

a. Good, well, pleasing, beneficial…

b. Used in Deut. 5:16 – children are to obey their parents that it might go WELL with them… it is beneficial for them to do so.

c. It is good and beneficial in many ways for a person to have a merry heart.

3. A merry heart is good like medicine.

a. Medicine: cure, healing, restoration…

b. Medicine works on the body. When we are sick, medicines are supposed to take away the sickness… heal the body… restore the body to good health once again.

c. Medicines do GOOD to the body: by healing and restoring it.

d. Solomon states here that a merry heart has the same effect as a medicine!

e. A cheerful, joyous, upbeat HEART can help restore the body… or perhaps better understood as the “whole person” in a manner similar to the way medicine restores the body.

f. A person’s inward state of mind and emotions can have an effect on his or her ability to heal and to be restored from a physical ailment.

g. A merry heart is BENEFICIAL to you as a person. It can even have a beneficial effect on healing from what ails you.

h. Just as worry can adversely affect you physically; joy can be beneficial to you physically.

4. The benefits of a merry heart.

a. Prov. 15:13 –It radiates right through to the countenance.
• It can be SEEN on your face.
• The inside affects the outside.

b. Prov. 14:30 – a sound (healthy) heart is the life of the flesh…

c. Prov. 15:15 – it results in a continual feast.

d. Prov. 18:14 – a healthy spirit—a strong, content, joyous inner man—will sustain a person’s infirmity: physical or emotional.
• Teens on a long overnight hike became worn out… and were ready to quit hiking.
• But once they discovered we were LOST—they all cheered up… and were transformed from weary group on the verge of quitting—to energetic trailblazers!

5. A Christian can have a merry heart regardless of the circumstances.

a. The world desires to have a merry heart.
• Hence, they seek to arrange circumstances such that they can enjoy merriment… happiness…
• To the world, happiness comes only through happy circumstances… pleasant “happenstances.”
• If things are going well, they have a merry heart. If things are not going well, they lose their merry heart.
• They live in the natural realm and that is the only realm they know.
• When circumstances in the natural realm are pleasant, they have a merry heart.
• When circumstances in the natural realm are UN-pleasant, they are discouraged, defeated, depressed.

b. That ought NOT be the case for us as believers.
• Our inner joy is not linked to circumstances but to Christ.
• The emotional condition of our heart ought to be determined by our relationship to Christ! (Ps. 42:11– HE is the health of my countenance!)
• We are told to rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS.
• Even if there is NO fruit on the vine, yet I will rejoice in the Lord—I will joy in the God of my salvation!
• Our joy is sourced in the Lord… not in circumstances.

But a broken spirit drieth the bones

A. A Broken Spirit

1. Same expression as “wounded spirit” in Prov. 18:14 – who can bear?

2. It speaks of a crushed, broken, wounded, pulverized spirit… ground to powder… no strength… no breath… depressed… discouraged… distant… alone…

3. A broken spirit looks at the gloomy side of everything… worries over anything… it’s cup is always half empty… it is inwardly tortured by dark thoughts… thinking only and always of the worst possible things that could happen… it is introverted… thinking of self…

4. Lots of circumstances in life can break the spirit… and it can be unbearable. It can be more intense and worse than physical pain.

5. This heavy emotional burden can affect us spiritually and physically. It affects the whole person.

B. Drieth the Bones

1. A broken spirit can dry up the bones… it can have a withering effect on the body… robs the body of its vitality…

2. Things like worry, fear, anxiety, guilt, anger, hatred, bitterness can adversely affect us physically.

3. Sorrow can break the spirit. (Prov. 15:13) That can have an effect on you physically too. You can get run down…

C. Victory Over Circumstances

1. Don’t allow YOUR spirit to remain wounded or broken.

2. It is natural for a spirit to be wounded in the battles of life.

3. It is NOT natural for a spirit to REMAIN that way. It will dry the bones… it can become unbearable.

4. It can lead to depression and even suicide.

5. Hence, it is our responsibility to pay attention to our spirit. And there are things we can DO to deal with a broken spirit.

a. Prov. 4:23 – Keep (guard) your heart with all diligence applies here. Don’t ignore your heart… your spirit… your inner man. Pay attention. Guard it… protect it.

b. Keep your heart clean… sins confessed…

c. Communion with Christ… abiding in Him… staying in close fellowship with Him… Remember, He came to “bind up the broken hearted.” (Isa. 61:1) He came that we might have joy.

d. Increase your prayer life. (John 16:24 – Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.)

e. Bathe your mind in the Word… renew your mind.

f. Think on things above… on things that are lovely…

g. Get fellowship with other believers. (John wrote about our fellowship one with another “that your joy might be full.” (I John 1:3-4)

h. Get some physical exercise too. Remember, there is a relationship between the inner and outer man.

i. Keep your old man on the cross—by faith.
• That old man LOVES to wallow in self-pity.
• He loves to lick his wounds…
• He loves to carefully rehearse all of his woes… his trials and troubles… one by one…
• He doesn’t deserve to be pitied. He deserves the cross. That’s God’s sentence for him.

6. The believer’s heart is to be MERRY.

a. But not all merriment is good.

b. It is the joy of the Lord… joy from the Word… from fellowship and communion… from spiritual things that makes our heart merry.

c. Ecc. 2:1-2 – Solomon sought to make his heart merry through earthly pleasures… and discovered that it was all vanity… emptiness. Laughter and mirth were not a medicine but madness!

d. A merry heart made merry through a relationship to God does good like a medicine.

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