Summary: Depression, anxiety, and fear are 3X what they were. God has a remedy -- a Merry Heart! We must reject negative thinking and focus on God and His promises. The key is a heart-connection to Jesus Christ; this us from outward circumstances.
A MERRY HEART DOES GOOD LIKE A MEDICINE
1. A young man went to the drug store to buy three boxes of chocolates. The pharmacist said, “What size do you want? Small, medium, or large?” The young man said, “I want to buy one of each.” “Why?”
2. Young man said, “I met a pretty girl. I’m having dinner with her parents tomorrow night and then we’re going to go out. If she lets me hold her hand, I’ll give her the small box. If she lets me kiss her on the cheek, I’ll give her the medium box. If she lets me kiss her on the lips, I’ll give her the big box!”
3. The next night he was sitting down to eat with the girl and her parents and he volunteered to pray over the food. He prayed for several minutes.
4. Afterward the girl whispered, “I didn’t know you were such a religious person!” He whispered back, “I didn’t know your father was the pharmacist!”
“A merry heart does good like a medicine: but a broken spirit dries [up] the bones” Prov. 17:22. “…he that is of a merry heart has a continual feast” Prov. 15:15.
C. PROBLEM: WIDESPREAD PSYCH. DISTRESS
1. After months of lockdowns due to Covid-19, studies show that depression symptoms are 3X what they were before Covid., up from 8.5 percent before, to 27.8 percent now.
2. Society is experiencing elevated levels of anxiety, fear, sadness, isolation, job stress, money shortage, declining health, grief, and loss of hope.
3. Many symptoms of stress may not be recognized: Feeling emotionally numb, finding difficulty enjoying anything, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, difficulty concentrating or making decisions, low energy, feelings of guilt or hopelessness.
4. Have you noticed any of these? If they’re severe you may need to see your doctor. Everyone is struggling in one way or another during COVID-19. [“Depression Symptoms 3 Times Higher During COVID-19 Lockdown” (Healthline magazine, Sept. 10,2020)]
5. Title: “A Merry Heart Does Good Like a Medicine.”
I. ATTITUDE CAN MAKE OR BREAK YOU
A. IT CAN DETERMINE YOUR HEALTH
1. Dr. Norman Cousins, who taught at the UCLA Medical School was diagnosed with a rare disease. The doctors told him, “Sorry, this is incurable; you’re going to die.” Dr. Cousins decided on a regimen of exercise, high doses of Vitamin C, and added an unusual thing; LAUGHTER! He rented comedy movies and cartoons and watched them for hours each day.
2. He discovered that ten minutes of hearty laughter gave him a whole hour free from pain. He began to get better. The day came when he went back to the doctors and they said, “We don’t know what happened, because this was an incurable disease; but as far as we know, you’re completely cured.”
3. He lived another 20 years and wrote a book on how a cheerful attitude, or lack thereof, can determine whether you get sick and how quickly you get well. [Keep Believing Ministries] In his case, a merry heart did good, like a medicine!
B. THE BATTLE IS IN THE MIND
The greatest battle we face is our battle of the mind – it impacts your faith. Victory or defeat take place in the mind. The Apostle Paul said;
1. “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things….And the God of peace will be with you” Phip. 4:8-9. As Christians, we should be thinking good thoughts about ourselves; be a positive person! We have a God who can do anything!
2. REJECT WHAT’S NOT FROM GOD
Any thoughts that are DEPRESSING, are not from God.
Any thoughts that are DISCOURAGING, are not from God.
Any thoughts that are DOUBTS, are not from God.
Any thoughts that are UNFORGIVING, are not from God.
Any thoughts that are CRITICAL OF OTHERS, are not from God.
Any thoughts that are PRIDEFUL, are not from God. Reject them.
Any thoughts that are IMPURE, GREEDY, are not from God. Reject them.
Any thoughts that are VIOLENT, are not from God. Reject them.
3. Instead, Paul tells us to focus on everything that is good, encouraging, what builds us up spiritually, what makes us more like Jesus, that gives us joy in the Spirit!
4. Spend time THINKING OF HOW GOOD GOD IS!
C. LIMIT EXPOSURE TO NEGATIVE INFLUENCES
1. Associate with cheerful people. You become like those you hang around. “They who walk with the wise grow wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm” Prov. 13:20. If you hang around negative or critical people, you become like them.
2. Don’t listen to negative news media. Have uplifting Christian praise music playing around you – it will alter your attitude from depressed to happy.