Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad. – Proverbs 12:25
I am embarrassed at times with the amount of energy I spend worrying.
Worry or as King Solomon puts it, “anxiety,” pulls us down. Some Bible versions use the phrase “causes depression.” Why is anxiety such an issue? Bottom line, it’s really a lack of trust. When I am overly worried, I am saying in effect, “God, I can’t trust you for this issue.” When I cannot mentally walk away from an issue and leave it with Him but continue to wrestle with the “what if’s,” I am running a major risk of pulling myself down.
While I can’t prove it, I am convinced a significant portion of those fighting depression are having a deeper spiritual battle with trust. I’m not talking about clinical depression as a result of a chemical imbalance or those suffering during a period of severe trauma. I am however, thinking about the many times we speak of someone being worried to the point where the situation consumes them. We often treat the symptoms of depression, but miss the real issue of trust.
How can we gain a degree of encouragement when we are feeling down? Look at the last half of verse 25, a good word makes him glad. What is meant here by a “good word?”
There are at least 3 ways you can look at this phrase.
The first is a word of encouragement from others. Simply put, sometimes the best way I can feel encouraged is when someone comes beside me and mentions a few good words. There have been many times when I’ve been on the receiving end of a few encouraging words that have really hit the mark and lifted my spirit. These words were not deep theological treatise on suffering or depression, but a few simple encouraging comments. Notice Solomon says a good “word,” not “a long litany of opinion” makes one glad. I think brevity is an important element in offering a good word to someone in need of encouragement.
The second way I think this verse can be applied is finding those good words. Specifically, we gain encouragement from the Scriptures. Spending quite time in bible study and letting Him speak to you through His Word. By the way, this probably isn’t a 3 minute devotional reading, but a time of study and quiet reflection of what His Word is speaking to you.
Thirdly, I think we need to realign our thinking. Philippians 4:8 is the blueprint for the way we need to think.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
When I am worrying, I am not living out this verse. I’m not filling myself up with “good words.”
The advice we glean from King Solomon, guards ourselves from anxiety. Worry pulls us down. It discourages us and keeps us from being the person God wants us to be. But when we get that “good word” in our heart through encouragement from others, reading His Word and re-aligning our thinking, we can make our hearts glad. Often, when we follow these directives, we worry less and think more. I’ve solved many issues thinking, but very few worrying.