Friday, April 5, 2013


“Hey, are you happy?”

“Yeah, I am.”

“Then tell your face!”

Ouch!! Have you ever heard that not so subtle sort of rebuke? We all know folks we’d like to hold a mirror to and ask them why they’re so sour.

The infrequently used word, “countenance,” comes to my mind. What is the definition of countenance? It means, “the face or its expression.” The word is said to originate from turning away the face to express anger, displeasure and refusal; a practice this is still common. The opposite conduct would, of course, express favor. The grant of a petition is accompanied by a look directed to the petitioner, averting the refusal or denial.

Our countenance is an important reflection of our hearts. Proverbs 15:13 says, “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance;” and, like Jonathan in 1 Samuel 14:29, we can identify with his delight, “How my countenance has brightened because I tasted a little of this honey.”

On the other side of the spectrum is Cain when his offering was not acceptable to God in Genesis 4:5. There it reads, “And Cain was very angry, and his countenance fell.”

Granted, no one can keep a smile on his face all the time. It’s just not possible. But, it’s too easy to use excuses to justify our down-turned moon face. Whether a small child, an adolescent, a young adult or an elderly person – we can choose to have a countenance that is a beautiful, full of joy and gratitude. Probably one of the keys to a glowing countenance (rather than fussy) is where our focus lies – on God and others or on ourselves. Too much self-involvement, without the breath of the Holy Spirit, comes through as down and discouraged. We have much about which to rejoice, let’s show others by the countenance we share with them!

There’s another Bible verse that talks about countenance. In Numbers 6:26, it proclaims, “The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace.” Amen to that!!!