Heart of Joy

“One who loves a pure heart and who speaks with grace will have the king for a friend.”

Pr 22:11 (NIV)

What are you praying for today? For me, it’s joy. As I was sitting in my bed this morning after reading the book of Philippians, I looked down at our kitten, Daisy, who was resting at my feet, eyes closed and purring loudly. At that moment, she showed me the perfect image of contentment.

Lately, I’ve noticed that many of my words have been negative. Of course, I could excuse this negative speech by saying that I’m worn down, worried, or unsure of the future. But, really, my negativity is a heart issue. As I read Paul’s words in Philippians, to “rejoice in the Lord,” (Php 3:1), do everything  without complaining or arguing (Php 2:14), pray rather than be anxious (Php 4:6), dwell on positive things (Php 4:8), and consider everything else a loss compared to what I gain in Christ (Php 3:8), I began to understand that true joy is not a feeling based on our circumstances, but rather a peace that comes from within as we place our trust in the Lord. When we have this peace, our hearts are pure and our words will be gracious.

Proverbs 22:11 reminds us of the importance of having a pure heart and gracious words. In this verse, Solomon tells us that the person who possesses these attributes “will have the king for a friend.” In this sense, king could mean two different things: the first is an earthly king, a person of respect and great importance. When we speak words that encourage and nourish others (Pr 16:24 ), we become like a light in this world that draws others to us, even those of the highest ranking. On the other hand, the king could refer to God. Our Father in heaven is pleased when our hearts are pure. That is what allows us to be in his presence, and he honors our graciousness to others. After all, grace is the message of Christianity.

If joy is something you seek as well, join me in prayer as we strive to seek joy and contentment in our lives despite our circumstances. Paul’s words in Philippians 1:9-11 are a beautiful prayer we can pray for each other:

“And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus  Christ – to the glory and praise of God.” Amen!

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