The book of Proverbs in the Bible states that when you have a merry heart, it does good to your body and soul in the same way an effective medicine would.
A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones. Proverbs 17:22
Having a merry heart will affect your mind, your emotions, and your physical body. This is not only stated in the Bible, but proven by medical science as well.
So, how do we have a merry heart? Is having a merry heart something we can choose to do and be intentional about? Yes! We can choose to cultivate a merry heart in every season of life.
Having a merry heart comes from what you choose to focus on and what you believe. In order to have a merry heart, you must focus your attention and your belief on good things.
There are so many things competing for our attention in today’s world, but God instructs us to give attention to His Word and there’s a reason for this- it will produce a merry heart!
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Proverbs 4:20
To give your attention to something means to turn the whole force of the mind to the subject in hand; the fixed gaze of the mind.
God is a really, really good God who only wants the best for you, all the time.
His Word will bring life, peace, and goodness to every area of your life.
When you spend time in His Word, God will give you insight into the way things are designed and meant to function. He knows how everything is created to exist and function at its best.
From God’s Word comes revelation of His love for you, and what He has accomplished for you through the death and resurrection of His Son. This is the best news you will ever receive and will produce a merry heart within you!
Why is it so Important to Have a Merry Heart?
We see from this verse in Proverbs that having a merry heart affects your physical body. This verse is not talking about your physical heart that pumps blood, but the heart of man which is the core part of a human.
When your heart is happy and at peace, it brings life and health to your body. A happy heart is literally like medicine to your body. Wow! And it has no adverse side effects.
A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones. Proverbs 14:30
Living life full of worry, anxiety, dread, and fear will cause your body to be a breeding ground for sickness and disease. You are created to live in a state of peace, love, joy, and thankfulness. When you are living the way you were designed, the right chemicals are released in your body that bring life and healing- medicine and health to your flesh!
My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:20-22
Not only does the condition of your heart affect your physical body, but it affects your entire life. This is why God warns us to guard our heart above all else (Proverbs 4:23).
When you have a merry heart, the Bible says that you will have a continual feast.
All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast. Proverbs 15:15
When you have a merry heart, you will always be in a place of abundance which comes from within.
This word “feast” is from the word mishteh, which is also translated drink, or banquet. In the book of Esther it is used for the banquet of wine. When we have a merry heart, it’s like always having a banquet of wine within us. Wow!
Having a merry heart will also give you a cheerful countenance. People are attracted to those with a cheerful countenance. Having a merry heart will make you attractive!
A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. Proverbs 15:13
How to Have a Merry Heart
Did you know that you are responsible for what’s in your heart?
Many people think that they have no control over what’s in their heart, but that is not true. The Bible instructs us to guard our heart with all diligence. We would not be told to do this if it was out of our control!
Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23
How do the issues of life spring out of your heart? Because your heart is the soil that produces whatever you plant in it. This is the way God designed it. Whatever is in your heart will eventually come out of your mouth, and those words produce in your life.
The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45
The Bible instructs us to rejoice always in the Lord (Phillipians 4:4). If we are instructed to do it, then it is surely possible! In fact, it is how we function best.
A merry heart is one who is always rejoicing in the Lord. No matter what is going on around us, we can choose to rejoice in the Lord- in His goodness, in His faithfulness, in His love.
To Have a Merry Heart, Meditate on the Word of God
What we feed ourselves continually through our ears, eyes, and thoughts is what becomes planted in our hearts.
Always plant what you want in your heart by feeding it the Word of God.
The Word of God is the seed that will produce what it says. For more about the power of the Word of God in your heart, read Will Jesus Heal Me?
The Bible also instructs us to guide our heart and assure our heart in the truth.
Hear, my son, and be wise; and guide your heart in the way. Proverbs 23:19
Do you see that? The Bible tells YOU to guide your heart! This means that you are not just at the mercy of whatever your heart chooses. You can actually lead and guide your heart into the right way.
You can also assure your heart of what God has said, and this is so necessary to living a victorious Christian life.
And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. 1 John 3:19
You can assure your heart of the truth of God’s Word, His love for you, and what the finished work has accomplished. This is a huge part of walking by faith.
To Have a Merry Heart, Focus on the Good
Focusing on the good in every situation can become natural to you, but it takes a diligent effort to train yourself to focus on the things that are good instead of the bad.
In every circumstance, you can look at the good or at the bad. It’s a matter of training yourself what to look for. What you look for is what you will find.
Philippians 4:8 gives us instructions on what we should be focusing and thinking on.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. Phillipians 4:8
Basically, if it’s not worthy of praise, don’t think about it. If it’s not of good report, it shouldn’t be allowed to take up space in your thinking. You can switch what you are thinking about by speaking out loud.
If you are in a habit of thinking negative thoughts, speak out loud “I think about things that are good. I think about things that are lovely and of good report only”. As you speak the Word of God out loud, your mind has no choice but to change the thoughts running through it.
To Have a Merry Heart, Develop Gratitude
Another way to focus on things that are merry is to become a person who is always thanking God and meditating on what you are thankful for. This mindset can be intentionally developed. Maintaining a grateful heart will naturally produce a joyful, merry heart. Thankfulness is the key to joy.
Grateful people have merry hearts. They always go together. This is why the Bible tells us to always be releasing thanksgiving.
in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Thanksgiving causes us to triumph over our emotions and paralyzes the devil.
Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place. 2 Corinthians 2:14
If you are somebody who thinks negatively and tends to look at what’s wrong in a situation rather than what’s right, it may seem utterly impossible to change. But that’s not true.
You can retrain yourself to look at the good in every situation. God would never instruct you to do this if it wasn’t possible. In fact, this is the way you were designed to live. The human body was not designed to focus on worry, fear, or anxiety, The human body was designed to be fueled by love, acceptance, and joy.
The Gospel is good news. God is so delighted in you. What Jesus has done for you is really, really good news. Any part of your life that is not filled with hope and peace is under the influence of a lie.
Jesus has really good news for every area of your life! Understanding this will fill your heart with overwhelming joy.
The Bible instructs us to focus on things above, not on things of the earth.
Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. Colossians 3:2
A merry heart knows it’s forgiven and deeply loved. Not only that, but a merry heart knows that it is highly favored and at peace with God.
To Have a Merry Heart, Surround Yourself with Joyful People
It is very, very hard to maintain a positive outlook on life if you are constantly surrounded with negative people. Eventually, you will learn their ways and the negative mindset will begin to influence you.
Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” 1 Corinthians 15:33
There is a reason the beginning of this verse says “Do not be deceived”, because we can tend to deceive ourselves into thinking we can hang out with people who have un-renewed minds and not be corrupted. It’s just not true.
This verse is not saying that you can never associate with unbelievers. We are supposed to be the light of the world and introduce people to our wonderful salvation. But we can not constantly surround ourselves with people who have a negative outlook on life and expect to have a merry heart.
The people that you spend the most time with should be people who are focused on the right things. If you want to have a merry heart, hang around those with merry hearts! They will encourage your thankful and joyful mindset.
The Bible has so much to say about who we choose to do life with. To learn more about the importance of surrounding yourself with the right people, read 50 Ways to Recognize a Wise Person.
To Have a Merry Heart, Speak Merry Things
The power of life and death is in our tongue (Proverb 18:21). You can release joy and peace into your heart through the words you continually say.
Become a person who only speaks in agreement with the Word of God. It will take some practice, but as you do this you will see your whole world transformed! You will wake up one day and wonder how you became such a happy, content person. Our words release life or death and create the good days we desire.
He who would love life and see good days, Let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. 1 Peter 3:10
Your heart is designed to believe your own words above any other. Your heart is constantly listening to the words coming out of your mouth in order to know what to bring forth in your life.
Begin to speak over yourself, “I have a merry heart. I rejoice in the Lord all the time. I focus on things that are lovely and worthy of praise. No matter what, I focus on the good in every situation”.
This is how you train yourself to focus on the good. In every situation, ask yourself “what is worthy of praise in this situation?” and then speak that out loud.
Speak the Word of God over your heart. Start telling yourself “I have a merry heart, I am a thankful person”. As you continue to do this, you will see your mindset change and truly become someone with a merry heart.