A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.
Centuries before the advent of scientific medicine, this proverb recognized a key element of good health and even for curing illness – a joyful heart. Being happy is not a cure-all, of course, but it does play a significant role in reducing the ill effects caused by stress, depression, anger, self-pity, and resentment.
Perhaps this was how the apostle Paul was able to deal with all his sufferings, including some kind of chronic physical ailment. He said, “Rejoice in the Lord always: again I will say, Rejoice….do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:4, 6). You may not be able to rejoice in being ill or going through a trial, but you can always rejoice in your salvation, in the grace and mercy of God, in his steadfast love, in his promise of eternal glory, and on and on.
Paul goes on to say, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” (4:8). You cannot keep bad things from happening, but you do have a choice as to letting such things dominate your mind and spirit or not. What are you thinking about today – your trials or your blessings? Are you counting what you wish you had or what all God has blessed you with?
And by the way, are you being medicine for someone today? Are you passing on a good word, a kind act that will refresh someone’s spirit? Let the blessings which God has poured out on you in Christ Jesus be passed on to others.
2 Corinthians 13
This will be my third visit to you. “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.”[a] 2 I already gave you a warning when I was with you the second time. I now repeat it while absent: On my return I will not spare those who sinned earlier or any of the others, 3 since you are demanding proof that Christ is speaking through me. He is not weak in dealing with you, but is powerful among you. 4 For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God’s power. Likewise, we are weak in him, yet by God’s power we will live with him in our dealing with you.
5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? 6 And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test. 7 Now we pray to God that you will not do anything wrong—not so that people will see that we have stood the test but so that you will do what is right even though we may seem to have failed. 8 For we cannot do anything against the truth, but only for the truth. 9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored. 10 This is why I write these things when I am absent, that when I come I may not have to be harsh in my use of authority—the authority the Lord gave me for building you up, not for tearing you down.
11 Finally, brothers and sisters, rejoice! Strive for full restoration, encourage one another, be of one mind, live in peace. And the God of love and peace will be with you.
12 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 13 All God’s people here send their greetings.
14 May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.