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PROVERBS 17:1, 14, 20, 22 NKJV 

1 Better is a dry morsel with quietness, 

Than a house full of feasting with strife. 

14 The beginning of strife is like releasing water; 

Therefore stop contention before a quarrel starts. 

20 He who has a deceitful heart finds no good, 

And he who has a perverse tongue falls into evil. 

22 A merry heart does good, like medicine, 

But a broken spirit dries the bones. 



Let's start with the last verse of our verses for today. "A merry heart does good like medicine." When we are joyful on the inside, when the thoughts and meditations of our hearts are good, we are in a good place. A merry heart means joyful, happy, and glad. And just as medicine helps us when we are not feeling well, a merry heart does the same thing. When we are doing well on the inside, it impacts all of our lives. 

By the same token, when we are hurting and broken on the inside, it can have an adverse effect on our entire well-being, including our physical health. 

Okay, now that we know that, how do we obtain and maintain a merry heart? Proverbs 15:30 says that the light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy. The entrance of God's words brings light, so reading, thinking about, and acting on God's words is the start of a merry heart. 

But we have to maintain that glad-hearted position, and the rest of our verses for today are a good place to start. This is not an exhaustive list, but paying attention to these areas will help. 

Be aware of and deal with a negative perspective. A crooked heart finds no good, according to verse 20. If you find yourself always seeing the negative on everything, it's time for a heart recalibration. Ask the Lord to help you find the good in people and in life. Looking at everything with dark glasses hurts your heart. 

Watch your words. Perverse means contrary to what is right or good. This is a major topic, but speaking against what God has said in His word is not right or good. We address the topic of words a great deal because they are so important. You will not keep your heart in good shape if your words are not God-shaped. 

And do everything you can to eliminate the strife in your life. The best way to deal with strife is not to even go there. You'll never have to undo what you never did. If you can stop a quarrel before it starts, you are in a much better position, and your heart will thank you for it. 

Strife is an enemy of a merry heart. Solomon said in verse one that an absence of strife was more important than the quality of food. Dry bread and peace is better than a gourmet meal with strife. 

In Proverbs 4:22, we are encouraged to guard our hearts because our life source starts there. Healthy heart, healthy life is a good mantra to have. A good heart is good medicine. 


Lord, help me add what strengthens and eliminate what hurts my heart.