~ “Be of Good Cheer” ~
Smiling is the exclusive prerogative of man—flowers, bird, animals cannot smile. (Dogs smile by wagging their tales!) But have you ever had someone confront you with a statement like, “Smile!” I have—at times I feel like striking back with some stinging one-liner. However, if it is someone who is close to me and I know they have my best interests in mind it is another story—I’m quite likely to cheer up if for no other reason than I know they genuinely care about me. The Word of God gives us plenty of reasons to be cheerful. Here are some of the basic reasons.
His Presence ~ In the New Testament the physical presence of Christ was reason to be cheerful. “But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid’” (Matthew 14:27). When we consider that we have God living within us how can we be anything but joyful? “Christ in you the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27b).
His Forgiveness ~ If you are a Christian your sins are forgiven! Be of good cheer because you have received a pardon. “When Jesus saw their faith… ‘Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you’” (Matthew 9:2b, also Mark 2:5).
His Hope (short-term) ~ We can, and should, have good cheer while we are experiencing the trials, tribulations, and rough events of this life. “I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man's life among you, but of the ship… be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me… Then they were all of good cheer” (Acts 27:22, 25, 36).
His Hope (long-term) ~ “Then they called the blind man, saying to him, ‘Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you’” (Mark 10:49). What the early church and the puritans termed the “blessed hope” is translated in our current vernacular as an “absolute certainty” of eternal life and the return of Christ to take us to be with Him forever. It will be as the Word of God says (Acts 27:25).
His Peace ~ We know that Christ overcame the world. “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33), so we can have peace. What joy that should bring!
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).
His Witness ~ If you know Christ as your personal Savior you are His witness. “But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, ‘Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome’” (Acts 23:11). Because of the genuine deep joy which we as Christians possess we should consistently be a cheerful witness for Him (Acts 23:11).
SUMMARY ~ You can be cheerful because of Him and His work on your behalf. If you are a Christian you have the power of His Spirit living within you. “Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's Spirit is in them — living and breathing God!” (Romans 8:5, The Message).
“And do not be drunk with wine [controlled by wine]… but be filled with the Spirit [controlled by the Spirit], speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 5:18-20).
~ Robert Lloyd Russell, ABUNDANT LIFE NOW