Thursday, May 7, 2009

Take your medicine!

"I love to laugh,
Loud, and long, and clear!
I love to laugh,
So everybody can hear!
The more I laugh,
The more I'm filled with glee;
And the more with glee,
The more I'm a merrier me!"

Sometimes taking your medicine can be unpleasant--we've all had the bitter taste of whatever nasty but necessary liquid cough syrup our mothers pushed at our mouths with the usual "Just swallow it quickly dear, you'll be done."

As a child, I was convinced the makers of Robitussin hated children. Why? Because if they liked kids, they would have made their product taste good.

That was one medicine I loathed taking.

There was another medicine I loved, though. I would take this medicine any day, anytime.


It's no surprise to me that the Bible says a merry heart does good like medicine (Proverbs 17:22). How many times have you been down in the dumps, and someone came along with a bright smile and a happy heart, cheering you up and lifting your spirits with their exuberance?

Humor is one of the most universally appreciated forms of communication.
But like nearly everything else, there is a good side and a bad side.

It can build up and edify--
Or it can tear down and discourage

It can exhort us unto godliness--
Or exhort us in ungodliness

It can point us towards wisdom--
Or point us towards foolishness

It's all in how we use it.

Sometimes I think Christians have the impression that we must always be serious, and never enjoy things for the sake of enjoyment.
While I would certainly agree that all we do should be done for the glory of God, we have to ask ourselves, exactly how is God glorified?

When the joy of the Lord exudes from our countenance, that is God-glorifying.
I have found that the most Spirit-filled, daily walking Christians are often the funniest and most uplifting people to be around. Why? Because when you are filled with Him, you can't help but bubble over with joy. We as Christians should be known for a twinkle in our eye and a ready smile on our lips. How can a lost world believe the change in our hearts if they don't see it on our faces?

When we delight in the Lord, His goodness, His gifts, the way He created us, that is God-glorifying.
John Piper once said "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him."
Much as a parent delights to see his young child running merrily through the yard, a happy smile and laughing face, so God delights in us living and happily being who He created us to be. We are HIS creation. Made exactly as He wanted us. While none of us are perfect, and we all are works in progress, I believe that God smiles when he sees us smiling, and perhaps even chuckles at some of our less-than-smart antics. Knowing Him is to know happiness. It's simply the truth.

This is not to say that we should go through life laughing at everything, and not taking anything seriously. There are many things in our walk with God that are very serious. There are many things that are not funny. He is God, and that is no laughing matter.
Laughter that takes delight in what grieves God is not God-glorifying. Laughter that elevates or exalts what God has declared unrighteous is not God-glorifying. Laughter that encourages us to view as petty what God says is important is not God-glorifying.

But laughter that causes us to smile up at God and take pleasure in Him is, I believe, the best medicine we could ask for.

Sweet to the soul, health to the bones, and a whole lot yummier than Robitussin.


Valerie May 7, 2009 at 6:56 PM  

Great article, Deb! I'm smiling now!

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