Verse of the Day Devotion: Proverbs 17:22

“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22.

There are two ways we can focus our thoughts.  We can either focus on that which is good, or we can focus on that which is not good.  Many things happen in our lives, both good and bad.  Some negative situations we cannot control, such as the death of a family member or friend, loss of a job, etc.  These can be very difficult times, and there will be a season where our thoughts will be directed at these issues.  However, more times than not, we have control over our circumstance and how we react.  For instance, when someone offends or insults us.  Or, as an actual instance in my life, a contractor goes to your boss and reports to them something you supposedly did which actually never happened.  In these cases, we must not focus on these things, but give them to God to work through.  We can and should address things that are not truthful about us, but we should never make these things control our lives.

What the writer of Proverbs says is that whether we focus on good things or bad things, they will have an effect on our bodies.  If our thoughts are positive and joyful, the affect is good.  Likewise, if our thoughts are negative and depressing and stressful, the affect is not good.  Let’s look at some of the effects on both sides.

When we focus on the negative, this produces stress.  There are various affects that are common to the person who is experiencing high stress levels.  These include muscle tension, most pronounced at the base of the neck.  Also, headaches which can include migraines.  Nausea, hair loss and weight gain, rapid heartbeat and chest pains as well as insomnia and fatigue.  One other is that stress impacts the immune system making those who are stressed more prone to illnesses.  (This information found on the Cleveland Clinic website.)

However, when we focus on the positive, this produces relaxation and positive body impacts.  When we laugh and feel deep joy, the body releases serotonin and endorphins which are called feel-good chemicals which make us even happier.  This relaxes the body and reduces stress.  These chemicals cause our lungs to expand and become replenished with oxygen.  Laughter even sends more oxygen-rich nutrients and blood throughout the body.  It relaxes the muscles, lowers blood pressure, increases blood flow as well as improving the functions of the blood vessels, which can decrease the risk of heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.  It also improves our immune system. (This information found on the Medical Daily website.) So, do we want to remain healthy or experience negative impacts on our bodies?  According to the writer of Proverbs, a joyful heart is a good medicine while stress and anguish which can come from negative things can hurt our body.  So, let’s stay positive.  If a negative situation occurs, do what you can but do not focus on it, give it to God and let Him take care of it. Remember what Paul wrote to the Philippians.  “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, rejoice!  Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything, worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”  Philippians 4:4-8.  Dwell on the good, give God your struggles and cares.  Your body will thank you.

William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries, Inc.

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