Read Proverbs 15:1-33. Why is joy such an important human asset?
Scripture does not promise us a life without trials. As Jesus Himself said:
Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matt. 6:34, NKJV). Proverbs 15:15 explains that amid evil days, the one who maintains a merry heart will have a better time of it. Pain, suffering, and trials will come, and often we can’t control when and how. What we can control, at least to some degree, is how we choose to respond.
Although the biblical text does not explicitly mention the reason for joy, the parallel thought between Proverbs 15:13-14 suggests that the
merry heart is
the heart of him who has understanding (NKJV). It is the heart of the one who has faith and sees redemption beyond the immediate ordeal. This is why faith in God is so important; this is why it’s so crucial that we know for ourselves, from our own experience, the reality of God and His love. Then, whatever trials come, whatever suffering we face, those with understanding can endure, because they know for themselves God’s love.
Proverbs 15:23 brings us another important idea. Joy comes more from what we give than from what we receive. It is the good word shared with others that will bring joy to the giver. Who hasn’t experienced the blessings that come from blessing others, whether in word or in deed or both? As we have already seen in Proverbs, our words are powerful. They can do great good or great evil. And how much better it is when they do great good, not only for the one whom the good is done, but for the one who does it.
How well do you know, for yourself, God’s love? What are things you could do that could help open up your heart to this crucial truth? Consider how much better life would be if you knew the reality of God’s love.