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Wednesday, August 3, 2022
Bible Meditation: 
Proverbs 12: 18-25

“ANXIETY in the HEART of a man causes DEPRESSION, but a good word makes it glad” – Proverbs 12:25

Nurturing either a glad, cheerful HEART or one that’s anxious and worried will significantly affect our HEALTH and HEALING: “ANXIETY in the HEART of a man causes DEPRESSION, but a good word makes it glad” (Pro.12:25). The New International Version says, “Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up.” This compact couplet suggests that the opposite of DEPRESSION of HEART is GLADNESS of HEART. Also, it provides both a diagnosis of and prescription against heart depression. Anxiety is diagnosed as the cause of heart depression; while the injection of encouraging, positive, and pleasant words is the cure: “There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise PROMOTES HEALTH” (v.18).

When anxiety and worry are left unchecked and allowed to fester, they can degenerate into full-blown depression. The depressed heart is characterised by heaviness. Depression describes a heart that’s passing through a dark, deep valley where the light of hope is obscured by clouds of confusion. It is like walking “through the VALLEY of the shadow of death” (Psa.23:4a). We are to not fear evil, because God is with us, along with His comforting rod and staff (Psa.23:4b). Many scriptures testify to the ability of negative words to intensify discouragement, as well as the health-enhancing and healing capacity of positive words in cheering up the discouraged:

“A man has joy by the answer of his mouth, and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!” (Pro.15:23)

“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones” (Pro.16:24)

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Pro.25:11).

“Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend gives delight by hearty counsel” (Pro.27:9).

There is a scripturally established relationship between the state of the heart and the condition of the body: “The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness, but who can bear a broken spirit?” (Pro.18:14). Sometimes, we come across people who struggle with sickness and weakness, yet when we go to see them, they cheer us up – people who are down and out physically, but who actually make us feel better by their countenance, because they are strong in spirit even though their body might be wasting away. On the other hand, there are people who bear a crushed spirit in a sick body. When we encounter such, we feel worse when we leave than when we came, because they would have sucked all the life out of us as well: “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones” (Pro.17:22).

This literarily means that a crushed spirit sucks out the marrow of life from the bones! What we are in the heart has a direct bearing on our physical health. What is on the inside eventually manifests itself physically on the outside. Proverbs 15:15 is another related scripture which confirms a relationship between physical and spiritual health; between mental attitude and physical well-being: “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a MERRY HEART has a continual feast.” The cheerful heart eats a feast at the table of the Lord.

We have a choice to be positive optimists, negative pessimists, or practical realists. The optimist sees a glass of water as half-full, while the pessimist sees it as half-empty. The optimist sees a doughnut, the pessimist sees the hole. The realist considers the particular context. Someone has described the optimist as the person who invented the airplane and the pessimist the person who invented the parachute! The realist considers that we need them both. We need the positive aspect of life as well as that aspect of life that’s aware of the problem, and feels the need to analyse and resolve it. Sometimes we can be both optimistic and pessimistic, but need not be anxious or worried.

Adetokunbo O. Ilesanmi (Meditations)

Lord, help us to continually feast on good words that delete anxiety and enhance Gladness of HEART, HEALTH, and HEALING, in Jesus name.
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