The subject of laughter arouses many responses. Some will say, "I don't think it is right just to laugh everything away."

This response is born of a fear that harasses some people who feel they must experience a sense of anxiety or worry or they would feel they were being frivolous or too light-hearted. I heard someone remark, "I think people who laugh a lot are just giddy."

This impression may be a correct one about some people, but it does not justify the counsel of those who would instruct us to go about our daily tasks continually with a sober countenance.

Someone else said, "But their laugh is so hollow sounding it irritates me!" A statement like that is altogether true about much of the laughter that assaults our ears…some tinny, some raucous, some irksome…but this does not justify our determined ignorance and neglect of a great truth.

Attitude First, Physical Second
Laughter should be considered more of an attitude than an audible, physical expression.

Webster's dictionary says that attitude is a "bodily posture showing a mental state, emotion, or mood." Speaking from the spiritual viewpoint it must be an attitude first, physical second. Attitudes are formed by conviction…conviction is not formed by attitude.

Christians who have developed strong convictions as to who they are, where they are going, who God is, His love, His Word, His Son, have healthier attitudes toward life than those who do not have such deep-seated convictions.

The attitude of the majority of the unconverted is, "What is to be will be…you just have to take the bad with the good…that's the way the cookie crumbles…or, that's the way the ball bounces."

While this may seem to be a better attitude than the one that says that life is full of nothing but toil and trouble, it still lacks depth and conviction. It is an attitude that is not able to say:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose. If God be for us, who can be against us?
(Rom. 8:28,31b)
Laughter is joy flowing, happiness showing, countenance glowing. An attitude of self pity, "Who's to blame?" or "Pin-point the fault," is never expressed as joy. An attitude of trust, faith, hope, and love will find expression in delight. Parents who frequently lie to their children will eat the bitter fruit of seeing their children distrust and lose faith in them.

When promises are made to children - promises repeatedly broken - they will eventually hear the child's response of, "they probably won't go," "it will never happen," or "oh, never mind, you won't do it anyway." A child reared in this atmosphere of broken pledges is not a happy, secure one and usually feels threatened by the future.

Many adults continue to have a flow of joy into adulthood because their attitudes are healthy, brought over from a positive attitude as a child. Somehow, we seem to catch the attitude of our Lord Jesus toward being joyful and happy. In John 15:11 Jesus said: "These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full."

Probably no place in Scripture is as emphatic of God's attitude toward joy as is expressed in Deuteronomy 28:47-48a:
Because thou servedst not the Lord thy God with joyfulness and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things…therefore shalt thou serve thine enemies.
As a pastor for many years, I've never seen anyone become lukewarm or go back on their commitment if they kept the joy of their salvation. This is why God gave such a solemn warning to Israel. Can't you picture the days when the offerings were taken to the Temple? What great joy!

We Must Keep Our Joy
Singing, dancing in the streets, expressing great joy as they brought their first fruits to offer to the Lord! Picture then, as time passed and the ritual became routine…the original joy was no longer there and the act became only ceremonial.

Do you see a parallel in the new Christian, just saved and going to church with great joy, tithing with great joy—witnessing with great joy?

Then gradually, perhaps because of the "little foxes" of church gossip, or some imperfection in the life of the pastor, or his family becoming oblivious, or any one of the many defects that can tarnish the brightness of the new life…the joy begins to ebb away.

How wonderful it would be to be able to immunize all baby Christians against this…or at least instruct the new convert in how to rebuke and resist the "little foxes." Anything that takes our joy is not of God and when we lose our joy we are in danger of beginning to serve the enemy and being in spiritual want.

Joy, Strength, and Growth!
I have had the personal privilege of being a part of the great revival of this era with its exploding churches and expanding pulpits. Churches that have gone from nineteen people to more than 3,000…from seventy-five to over 1,500, many churches having over 300 percent growth.

In all of these exploding churches, there are four common denominators:
  1. A spirit of fellowship
  2. A spirit of worship
  3. A spirit of joy
  4. A spirit of faith
I have often noticed how quickly these congregations respond with joyful laughter, how their faces beam as they listen to the Word, how quick they are to hug one another with pure joy. This joy flowing is a quick, ready laugh…a joy expressed and a flashing smile.

They sense the joyful presence of our Lord. He is in their midst. People who all their lives felt rejected now feel accepted by their new brothers and sisters. Drug addiction and other vices have been replaced by the satisfying portion of grace. Marriages that were shipwrecked are not being healed and sailing on a sea of happiness.

The body of Christ is coming together in joyful worship. Miracles are happening and God's love flows in the joy of the Lord.

In Acts 8:8, where there was revival, there was great joy in that city after the outpouring of the Holy Ghost. They broke bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness (exultation) and singleness of heart.

Happy or Miserable? It's Your Choice
We will always face many tests…but the Lord is our strength. We can be happy if we want to, or we can be miserable if we desire. It is our attitude that will be showing.

If you are having difficulty showing a good, positive, happy attitude, then learn how to express good, solid, scripture-based convictions. Let them flow. Speak them out loud:

"I can do all things through Christ."

"Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world."

"If God be for me who can be against me."

"I can run through a troop and leap over a wall!"

Then expect that attitude to change. Turn the corners of your mouth up instead of down. Don't cry…laugh!

Source: He Who Laughs Lasts and Lasts and Lasts
by Dr. Roy H. Hicks
Excerpt permission granted by Harrison House Publishers