What does the Bible say about a cheerful heart or disposition? How can - Bible Questions and Answers - Prayer Tents


22. What does the Bible say about a cheerful heart or disposition? How can I gain and maintain one?
Asked by: Male, North America, 26-35 on May 23, 2021 9:42:36 pm


Thanks for asking such an excellent question! I am a bit confused about what you were referring to by your use of the word disposition. I'll assume you mean inner cheerfulness (not just looking like it on the outside). Write back if I misunderstood.

Let me start with outward cheerfulness, as that is what people tend to think about when they feel they need to be "more cheerful." So here is a quick search on what the Bible says about being cheerful:

Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.

Proverbs 15:15 For the despondent, every day brings trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.

Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person's strength.

2 Corinthians 9:7 You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don't give reluctantly or in response to pressure. "For God loves a person who gives cheerfully."

These verses show that being cheerful results from the inner heart:

  1. A glad heart makes a cheerful face (Prov 15:13.
  2. A happy heart (cheerful inner heart) leads to a life of continual feasting (Prov 15:15.
  3. A cheerful heart (inner heart) provides healing (Prov 17:22. 
  4. Even when giving, it is not outward cheerfulness, but the inward willingness that God desires (2 Corinthians 9:7)

So, when someone asks, how can we have a cheerful heart? The Bible does not refer to outward cheerfulness (though that is undoubtedly the outward result) but about the inner heart of cheerfulness. Another word for inner cheerfulness that we can quickly relate to may be happiness.

So, how can you be happy and maintain happiness? I think that is your question.

The verse that comes to mind is Psalms 1:

Psalms 1:1-2 1Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; 2but their delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law they meditate day and night. Psalms 1:1-2 (NRSV) 

Happiness comes from God. Happiness comes from those who know the Word of God so that they do not follow the ways that go against it ("advice of the wicked").

Here are some other verses on happiness:

Psalm 89:15 Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

Proverbs 3:18 Wisdom is a tree of life to those who embrace her; happy are those who hold her tightly. (Wisdom refers to God and His Word)

Happiness is being satisfied in God. or what he provides (good or bad). For example:

Ecclesiastes 9:7 So go ahead. Eat your food with joy, and drink your wine with a happy heart, for God approves of this! (in other words, be satisfied and happy with what you have)

Psalm 113:9 He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD!

So, true happiness comes from trusting God. You trust Him so much that you are willing to lean on His ways (or the Word). Then, regardless of the good or bad things that may happen, you are satisfied with what He gives. 

If you write back, perhaps you can share what you are experiencing. I feel as if my response is a bit dry and didactic because I do not know how to relate to your life's experiences with your question.

To make it personal, let me point to a chapter that I refer to often. Then, I hope you do the same.

Psalms 23 (NLT) 

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. 2He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. 3He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. 4Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. 5You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. 6Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever. 

This writing is from a person who is satisfied with God. (This was written by King David, who had many troubles in his life)

(v. 1) He begins that God is his shepherd and that he needs nothing more. 

(v. 2) He has rest in a peaceful environment (by the way, David's life was nothing peaceful, but he felt with what God provided, he was able to get that peaceful rest).

(v. 3)He gains strength (from depression, sadness) from God. Then He is guided by God even when life's paths seem so uncertain.

(v. 4) Even when facing death, he would not be afraid because God is enough.

(v. 5) Even when enemies surround him, God sets up a feast for him while the enemies look on. 

(v. 6) He is loved by God, and he needs nothing more.

With that kind of mindset, Christians can be happy regardless of what circumstances they may face.

Answered by Dr. Sang Sur

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