Faith is at the foundation of all Christian living, and because faith has to do with the character of God, it is safe from all vacillations of mood. A man may be believing soundly and effectively even when his mood is low, so low that he is hardly aware that he is alive emotionally at all.
That is one thing, and it is good to know and still better to put in practice. But like every other truth, it has two sides. Our trouble today is that we tend to forget the other side, that is, that elevated spiritual mood is a tremendous aid to victorious Christian living.
The relation of faith to mood may be stated by means of a number of metaphors: if faith is the tree, mood is the blossom; if faith is the flower, mood is the fragrance; if faith is the instrument, mood is the melody. And who will deny the vital place of the blossom, the fragrance and the music in human life?
Mood is a kind of mental weather. There is weather in which nothing will grow. The farmer knows the damage done by prolonged periods of cold, wet weather in the spring after the seed has been planted. Sometimes the seed will rot in the ground, requiring a new planting with all the loss and extra work this entails. Weather may be too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet to favor good crops, and the Christian’s moods, in like manner, may be unfavorable to spiritual growth and fruitfulness. Christian service carried on during prolonged heaviness of heart may be as good as wasted.
George Mueller would not preach until his heart was happy in the grace of God; Jan Ruysbroeck would not write while his feelings were low, but would retire to a quiet place and wait on God till he felt the spirit of inspiration. It is well known that the elevated spirits of a group of Moravians convinced John Wesley of the reality of their religion, and helped to bring him a short time later to a state of true conversion.
The Christian owes it to the world to be supernaturally joyful. In this day of universal apprehension when men’s hearts are failing them for fear of those things that are coming upon the earth, we Christians are strategically placed to display a happiness that is not of this world and to exhibit a tranquillity that will be a little bit of heaven here below.
All this takes for granted that sin has been dealt with by sincere repentance and thorough amendment of life. It assumes that we are walking in the light of truth, for true joy cannot be artificially induced. The “keep smiling” school of applied psychology is not even remotely related to the true faith of Christ. The chief fun of the comedian and the good humor of the wit who is the life of the party are like flowers growing on old graves, briefly interesting, but evanescent and always touched with sadness. But the fountain of Christian joy flows out from the throne of God, pure, refreshing and sweet everlastingly.
A. W. Tozer The Christian’s Obligation To Be Joyful is from Alliance Weekly 01 August 1951