…Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
— James 5:13
Have you ever experienced something that thrilled you so deeply, you felt as if you’d explode if you couldn’t express your joy about it? If you were alone when this happened, did it sadden you that you had no one to rejoice with you? Did it throw cold water on what you were feeling?
What should you do if you ever come to one of those moments when you’re all alone, but you feel so elated that you just need to shout, dance, or sing to express yourself? I encourage you to go ahead and do it! The Lord is right there with you, and He’ll be happy to share that moment of bliss with you. So don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself — just open your heart to the Lord and let out that shout! If you feel like screaming with joy, then scream! If you’re so excited that you can’t stand still, then throw off your shoes and start dancing! It’s right for you to rejoice when something wonderful has happened in your life. That is precisely what James means when he says, “…Is any merry? let him sing psalms.”
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
The word “merry” in this verse is the Greek word euthumeo, which is a compound of the Greek words eu and thumos. The word eu describes a good feeling, and it is where we get the word euphoric. It pictures a person who is absolutely elated, thrilled, or ecstatic about something. The word thumos is the idea of swelling emotions or a strong and growing passion about something. When these two are joined together to form the word euthumeo, the new word expresses the idea of a person who is just about to explode with joy! This person is so excited and overjoyed that he can hardly contain himself. He is so tickled about something that he can no longer restrain the happiness he feels!
James says that when you are filled with this kind of overflowing joy, you should express your exultation. Go ahead and let your heart sing! That is why he wrote, “…Is any merry? let him sing psalms.” The words “sing psalms” comes from the single Greek word psallo, which first meant to pluck, as to pluck the strings of a harp or bow. Then later it meant to play, as a musician would play a stringed instrument. But by the time of the New Testament, it pictured a person who sings a hymn or some other special heartfelt expression of music. It is as if the strings of a person’s heart are being plucked and played so he can fully express his heartfelt gratitude, praise, and worship to God.
In light of this, James 5:13 could be interpreted as follows:
“…Is there anyone among you who is so excited that he can hardly contain it and who feels as if he is about to burst with joy? If that person is so overjoyed and tickled that he can no longer restrain the happiness he feels, let him sing the song he feels in his heart.”
Oh, how wonderful those moments are when your spirit is so filled with God’s Presence that you feel a song arising from your heart! Why restrict the flow of life that is trying to emerge and refresh you at that moment? Remember, God gave your emotions to you. So when you’re overflowing with joy because of something God has done for you or because of some wonderful event that has just transpired, don’t hold back. It’s healthy and good for you to let your joy out!
Also, don’t let your rejoicing depend on whether or not people are present to do it with you. Have you forgotten that the Lord is always there with you? He will be happy to be a part of your celebration! In fact, it might even help you to express your joy if no one is there with you. If it’s just you and the Lord, there is nothing to stop you from laying aside all your inhibitions so you can really throw your entire being into rejoicing!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, I needed this encouragement today, and I thank You for speaking to me through this Sparkling Gem. I do have something to shout about, so I make the decision today to go ahead and let out the joy that is in my heart! I thank You for being a part of my rejoicing and for the great and awesome things You are doing in my life!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I confess that I don’t need other people with me in order to truly rejoice in the Lord. When I feel the strings of my heart being plucked with joy, I am going to open my mouth and sing it out. When I feel so full of joy that I can’t sit still, I am going to throw off my shoes and start dancing before the Lord. When I think I’m going to explode if I can’t scream and yell with joy, I’m going to go somewhere where I can yell my head off without worrying about people who might be listening. God gave me emotions so I could rejoice — so I intend to rejoice with all my being whenever I am overflowing with the joy of the Lord!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Can you think of a time when you were so filled with joy that you started dancing and shouting? Did it feel like a volcano of joyous emotion was released from your spirit when you finally let your joy out?
2. How does it affect you when you see someone shouting and dancing for joy because of something good that has happened to him? Does it make you feel happy for that person, or does it make you want to tell him to be quiet?
3. If you find yourself getting upset when other people rejoice, what do you think lies at the root of this displeasure? Could it be that there is something inside you that the Spirit of God wants to remove so you can rejoice too?