Friday, March 16, 2007

What Is "He" Looking For? - Part 3

Introduction * Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6 * Part 7 * Part 8 * Part 9 * Conclusion

3. "[Another] thing to look for in a prospective wife is cheerfulness.... Everyone has trials and adversities. The happy, cheerful girl has learned to deal with them and still enjoy life."

Cheerfulness might be defined as the outward manifestation of a contented heart. On the other hand, a lack of cheerfulness is often the result of discontentment. True cheerfulness is not contingent upon surrounding circumstances, but is the resulting attitude in a woman who has learned to be content "in whatsoever state" she finds herself. She is uplifting to her husband, and cheerfully fulfills her God-given role as his helpmeet.

We are all familiar with Paul's amazing statement in Philippians 4:11: "for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Paul went through many, many "whatsoever states" in his lifetime: shipwrecks, imprisonment, verbal abuse, persecution for the cause of Christ.

My family has a dear friend whose circumstances are less than ideal. She lives alone, far from family, and has many health problems. Although she is in pain frequently, everyone she meets is always greeted with a cheerful smile and an encouraging word. She has determined to have a good attitude no matter what her circumstances are. What an encouragement and inspiration to all of us!

Vibrant cheerfulness is infectious! There are some people around whom it is almost impossible to be sad or cast down. What man would not want a wife who is positive and uplifting, who always greets him with a cheerful countenance? Imagine the value of being able to come home after a long day's work with the confidence that one will be met with a bright smile and a cheerful, uplifting attitude!

Mr. Pearl contrasts his picture of a cheerful woman with one of a discontented woman. He writes, "No man can make a discontented woman happy." Discontentedness comes from the heart, and is not remedied by outward circumstances.

A woman who says, "I have had my way in this area. Now I am truly contented" is not really contented. Instead, she is merely temporarily satisfied. The next time she cannot buy that item she wants, or her husband does not act in a way that meets with her approval, her discontented spirit will show itself again.

How does one develop a spirit of cheerfulness? Mr. Pearl outlines this briefly: "Everyone has trials and adversities. The happy, cheerful girl has learned to deal with them and still enjoy life [Emphasis added]." Paul, too, does not merely say that he is content in whatsoever state he finds himself. He says that he has learned to be content in whatsoever state he is in. Literally, in this context, learned means "to learn by use and practice" or "to be in the habit of, accustomed to." A spirit of cheerfulness is something that we should be cultivating daily.

Cheerfulness is an attitude of the heart, and must be dealt with at the heart level. One who is always brooding, thinking of things that did not go her way, will find it impossible to become the possessor of a cheerful heart. She is on a road heading to discontentment and misery. One who makes it her practice to think on "whatever is true, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good report (Philippians 4:8)" will find that her whole attitude and demeanor will undergo a dramatic change. A girl who looks for ways to serve, instead of thinking of all the ways others should be serving her, will learn to be content in all of the "whatsoever states" she finds herself.

Proverbs 15:13 - A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 17:22 - A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

Introduction * Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * Part 5 * Part 6 * Part 7 * Part 8 * Part 9 * Conclusion