Cheerfulness: the scriptures have a lot to say about cheerfulness and when we ought to be cheerful.
When I was a young man, before I knew the Lord Jesus Christ as my saviour, I migrated out from the UK to Australia in 1961. To my shock, and at the time, to my embarrassment and sometimes outrage, there were many cultural differences between being a young man in the UK and a young man in urban Australia. No, it was not at the thought of finding kangaroos hopping up the main street of Sydney, but I was appalled at the state of public transport and I refused to get on the first train that pulled into Circular Quay. This train was what Sydneysiders affectionately called the Red Rattler. My first impression was that it was a cattle truck and I wouldn’t climb aboard. One of the main differences that I noticed was the general talk behaviour of young fellows. Easy use of foul language and derogatory remarks appalled me. There was one activity that I had in common both in the UK and Australia. The copious amounts of alcoholic beverage consumption continued unimpaired for one country to the other. The method and behaviour of this consumption was, admittedly, different, but there was one common strand.
In the UK and in Australia, when first meeting with friends and strangers for alcoholic beverage consumption, we clinked our glasses and/or bottles together and mutually called out “CHEERS.” The Australians sometimes added crude comments but this term was a constant. It was actually more frequent than shaking hands when meeting. I don’t think that I ever got any alcohol down my throat in the presence of another person without saying “CHEERS.” I no longer consume alcoholic beverages. It is my choice in the same way that I no longer smoke. I found, to my surprise, that as soon as I became born-again as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ that I no longer needed many of the habits that I used to be involved in.
Greeting one another by using the word “Cheers” has a very scriptural foundation. How it got to be associated with copious amounts of alcoholic consumption I have no idea. I’d like to look at three new Testament references to the concept of cheerfulness.
[KJV] Acts 24:10 Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:
Whenever we Christians get an opportunity to witness or testify about our Christian faith, we should do it with cheerfulness. We should testify with the same type of enthusiasm that we used when we said “Cheers” to one another as we clinked various alcoholic drinks. We have nothing to be ashamed of, and indeed, we have news and greetings of great importance. When we tell other people about the love of God and the provision of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Saviour we ought to be more than ready to share this information with great cheerfulness with readiness of heart and mind. Cheerfully speaking out about the claims of the gospel, its privileges and responsibilities flows quite naturally to us as we walk in the spirit of the Lord Jesus. We should testify about our Lord Jesus Christ with both a cheerful manner with a cheerful readiness. After all, the scriptures exhorted us to be always ready to give an account of our faith. If you don’t like the idea of being too intrusive in the way in which you testify, you can always start your testimony with a question. Something like, “would you like to hear what I’ve got to say?” I know that some of you may feel that you have to wait until you asked before you tell anybody about the gospel or testify about your experiences of the Lord Jesus Christ. People like to take a narrow view of this Scripture: “[KJV] 1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” this Scripture does not say that you have too actually wait until you are asked before you give a reason for the hope that is in you. Unfortunately I can see a day looming on the horizon when it will be a chargeable offence to attempt to try make a proselyte of somebody without being given an invitation to do so. That will end up with the gospel being less spread than it already is.
Remember that each of us is to be filled with the holy spirit and so become people who testify of the news of the Lord Jesus Christ in all times and places. So be like the apostle Paul be always ready to cheerfully answer for yourself and testify about the power and the fact of the Lord Jesus Christ in your life.
[KJV] Romans 12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
This is the next circumstance in which we are to show cheerfulness. Whenever you show mercy or forgiveness of somebody you ought to show this with cheerfulness. Forgiveness and mercy are to be offered cheerfully, freely, happily and completely. The reason for this is because our heavenly Father has cheerfully, without reservations, forgiven us for the sake of his son our Lord Jesus Christ. When we show mercy, kindness or forgiveness to somebody it is on the grounds that we who have been forgiven so much through no deserving qualities of our own, can freely, completely and cheerfully show that same forgiveness and mercy to others. To cheerfully show mercy to somebody is the liberating secret that will release you to a life of abounding joy and rejoicing. There is a certain freeness and abundance in the concept of cheerfulness. It represents the concept of happy “more than enough.” The abounding joy of a cheerful heart is exceptional medicine. To show mercy, even if it is not particularly deserved, with cheerfulness is to take on the very nature of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[KJV] 2 Corinthians 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.
This verse says it all – God loves a cheerful giver. If there should be one characteristic of the way in which you give it should be with cheerfulness. An attitude of cheerfulness is offset against having an attitude that gives grudgingly or out of a sense of necessity. The galvanising attitude towards giving is cheerfulness. Our giving is not related to a sense of having to give for whatever the reason nor is it flavoured with a grudging or begrudging attitude. Have you ever seen a wilful child that is made to share with a friend? The creased brow, the out-thrust lip, the drooped head and the aggressive stance all scream out that this child is sharing out of a sense of external compulsion and necessity. There is no free spirit of cheerfulness in this example. We, on the other hand, are to be able to give cheerfully, abundantly, completely and freely not expecting anything in return.
Once again that happy abounding attitude that is able to give out on the grounds that you have been given so much in Jesus Christ. I hope that you pursue these attitudes of cheerfulness with the same enthusiasm that you used to clink your alcoholic beverages and greet your friends with “Cheers.”
Some links you may enjoy:
God is painting our sky: http://youtu.be/8BC6flTOGSk
Link to my video on Cheerfulness: http://youtu.be/kCtOCJcc8QM
Link for my 1st session on Cheer: http://youtu.be/XznG7pQzR8U
Whatever you do, stay full of cheer and let cheerfulness mark the way you behave.