In some Christian circles, the more long and somber your face, the more godly you must be. Often this is the way the Puritans are painted, as those drab and delight-less saints of old who might burn you at the stake if you were found to be of a cheery temperament. However, as this quote from our brother Thomas Watson makes quite clear, this was not the case. As you read his words, realize he is saying more than “it is OK to smile.” He’s actually pointing out the blasphemy in our sour dispositions. Next time you go to work with a chip on your shoulder or come home and kick the cat, take a moment and think through what you actions are saying about the God you serve.
“We glorify God by walking cheerfully. It brings glory to God, when the world sees a Christian has that within him that can make him cheerful in the worst times; that can enable him, with the nightingale, to sing with a thorn at his breast. The people of God have ground for cheerfulness. They are justified and adopted, and this creates inward peace; it makes music within, whatever storms are without. 2 Cor 1:4. 1 Thess 1:6 If we consider what Christ has wrought for us by his blood, and wrought in us by his Spirit, it is a ground of great cheerfulness, and this cheerfulness glorifies God. It reflects upon a master when the servant is always drooping and sad; sure he is kept to hard commons, his master does not give him what is fitting; so, when God’s people hang their heads, it looks as if they did not serve a good master, or repented of their choice, which reflects dishonour on God. As the gross sins of the wicked bring a scandal on the gospel, so do the uncheerful lives of the godly. Ps 100:2. ‘Serve the Lord with gladness.’ Your serving him does not glorify him, unless it be with gladness. A Christian’s cheerful looks glorify God; religion does not take away our joy, but refines it; it does not break our viol, but tunes it, and makes the music sweeter.”
Thomas Watson, from the sermon Man’s Chief End