“A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed” (Prov. 15:13).
All of us have known the emotions spoken of by the inspired writer above. Life is filled with experiences that both gladden and sadden, that can cheer as well as depress. Generally speaking, facing good times is easy. Those times when the heart is sad, when we feel burdened with the trials of everyday living, are what offer us our greatest challenges. When our spirit seems broken, Satan waits to take advantage of our discouragement.
Christian living, however, is to fill us with joy and peace, a sense of victory. Paul wrote we are to “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!” (Phil. 4:4). To the Corinthians, Paul encouraged, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:57). How can we turn feelings of gloom and depression into an attitude of confidence and victory?
John offers us this basic insight in having a triumphant attitude. “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that has overcome the world--our faith” (1 John 5:4). Through an obedient faith (Gal. 3:26-27) we are born of God, and it is by faith that we are kept for salvation (1 Pet. 1:5). It is an active, growing faith that can turn a spirit of defeat into the promise of victory. Faith finds its strength in the Word of God, where it both begins and is nurtured (Rom. 10:17). We must spend time in the Word for our faith to continually be strengthened, to motivate us in living for Christ each day. Prayer is another avenue of help, as we communicate from our heart to the Father, who promises to provide what we need (Matt. 7:7-11). Fellowship with brothers and sisters in Christ also helps remind us what we have in our relationship together (Heb. 10:24-25).
How do we turn a broken spirit into a joyful, hopeful spirit? Perhaps, it's best done by stepping back, looking to God through the eyes of faith, and allowing Him control over our lives. In Him, we can find purpose and delight for life today, eternally. “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord” (1 Cor. 15:58).
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice.”