A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Your face shows your heart. If you are happy inside, it will show outside. If you are sad inside, it will also show outside. Others know your heart by what they can see on your face. The lessons are to choose a merry heart for yourself and to help others get one also.
A cheerful face and energetic body are wonderful things. Glowing features, dancing and happy eyes, frequent and warm smiles, and upbeat movements beautify women and enhance men. These attractive traits are cheap and easy to obtain – choose to be happy.
But a sad face and dragging body are horrible things. Clouded features, dead eyes, cold frowns, and slow, slumping movements disfigure and spoil both women and men. Such outward display shows a hurt or broken heart, for the spirit of joy and energy is wounded.
A smile is the best facial! A joyful soul enhances your appearance more than anything else. A happy face is a wonderful thing, and it is the result of a peaceful and contented heart. But a troubled heart clouds your face, as it saps your features and body of energy and vitality. Wise men guard their hearts, and they learn to perceive the hearts of others.
Women spend much time, expense, and effort to be attractive. Yet a warm and sincere smile does more than any hairdo, makeup, or accessories. A girl or woman can go from a 5 to a 9 with a smile! Cheerful eyes, a relaxed face, a pleasant smile, and contented posture are more appealing than fine clothing and perfect features. And a kind and happy smile is ten times better than a bored look, angry face, furrowed brows, or haughty stare.
Your countenance is primarily your facial appearance, but it also includes your bearing and demeanor. It is your face and body language combined. When you are happy and joyful, your countenance reflects this inner condition. And when your soul is burdened under fear, loss, trouble, or worry, your face and body reveal it as well (I Sam 1:10,18).
When you are happy and excited, whether by circumstances or choice, you have extra energy, light, and life. And this refreshing carriage is often contagious to those around you. In the same way, when you are sad and discouraged, you have little energy, power, or resolve. And this depressed appearance drags those down that are with you.
What is the lesson? A wise man will rule his spirit to keep it from breaking (Pr 25:28). If he is cast down about anything, he will not let it destroy him (II Cor 4:9). He will remember the warning to weep without it seriously affecting him (I Cor 7:30). He will choose a merry heart for his approach to life for the continual feast it brings (Pr 15:15).
Happiness is a choice. Contentment is a choice. Love is a choice. Hope is a choice. Thankfulness is a choice. Attitude is more important than any circumstances. Ruling your spirit shows greatness (Pr 16:32), and by doing so you can maintain a merry heart for a cheerful countenance. Though self-discipline is not taught any more, you must learn it.
What is the lesson? Wise men will consider and discern the souls of others by their outward countenance. True friends are born for adversity, and they will be ready to help in a time of grief or need (Pr 17:17). It is the duty of Christians to consider when another church member might be hurting (Rom 12:15; I Cor 12:26; I Thess 5:14; Heb 10:23-25).
Wise men learn to spot the tears of a clown. Though there might be an outward smile and physical energy, they consider others carefully enough to measure their spirit better than by a superficial glance. This takes time, emotional energy, experience, and concern – the marks of real love. Do you know anyone today with a troubled heart you could heal?
There is only one real heart doctor in the universe. Do you know Him? The rest know so little, and they only deal with the lump of muscle beating in your chest. This other doctor has the power to easily fill you with love, joy, peace, hope, and all sorts of other wonderful traits to enlarge your heart and energize your countenance. Do you know Him?
How do you get a merry heart? It is a choice! The gracious God of heaven expects you to be joyful for what He has done for you (Acts 14:17; Ps 4:7; Phil 4:4). If you know Him, how can you not be content and excited (Ps 73:25-26; Jer 9:23-24; Heb 13:5-6)?
With your heart in the right place, Solomon’s priorities make perfect sense (Pr 15:16-17). With eternal life as a gift of God and heaven waiting, what can get you down? And with a cheerful countenance, you give visual proof of Christianity’s superiority. Smile!