“Would you make Christ’s heart glad, keep your own cheerful.” Thomas Manton
The Puritan, Thomas Manton, gave four reasons why Christ feels so strongly about His people being filled with joy:
1. It is useful in spiritual life. Joy is the oil to the wheels of our spiritual life. It gives us the energy to do good. It is not the kind of joy that comes from a life of recreation and ease. As Christians, we still need to fulfill our callings and do our duties, but heavenly joy helps us do our work with peace.
2. It ruins the taste of worldly joy. Our souls are going to find joy either in worldly things or in heavenly things. There is no middle ground with a little joy in each. As soon as we have tasted even a little heavenly joy, we will never be satisfied with worldly joy again. We are still not amazed by those who are satisfied with the world, though, because they have never known anything more delicious.
3. It is for His honor. There is nothing that ruins Christian witness more than sad Christians. When we are consistently negative in our conversation, we darken the things of God to those around us. Religion should be cheerful and inviting. Don’t be like the pessimistic spies who told the Israelites that Canaan was unconquerable.
4. He loves to see us cheerful. God does not delight in sad devotion. Just like farmers are happy when their fields prosper, so Christ finds joy when His people overflow with joy. Do you want to make Christ’s heart glad? Then be cheerful.
Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, Vol. 10 (Worthington, PA: Maranatha Publications, 1970) 355-356.