The Happy Christian is a book that encourage Christians to have a positive faith and life. After an introductory chapter where Dr. Murray shares his hopes for his book and identifies some of the reasons for negativity and unhappiness in our culture, he helps his readers to understand ten “biblical and practical” ways to increase happiness.
First, he encourages us to watch our media diet by applying Philippians 4:8. In one of my favorite chapters of the book, Dr. Murray comforts his readers who are constantly bombarded with demands with the good news that regarding our relationship to God, “It is finished!” In chapter 4, he teaches us to think and talk more about Jesus than other Christians. He encourages believers to have a healthy view of the past and cultivate optimism for the future. Chapter 6 is another of my favorites in it Dr. Murray discusses how looking for God common grace in the world encourages Christian happiness. The chapter ‘Happy Praise’ was probably the one that was the most personally convicting part of the book because I am very good at criticizing but poor at praising. Dr. Murray shows that giving to charity, giving of thanks, giving in marriage, giving of forgiveness, and giving in leadership encourages happiness. In chapter 9, he looks at work through the lens of Romans 11:36 “to turn work into a big positive.” Finally, the last chapter discusses that diversity is greater than uniformity.
The Happy Christian is a practical, encouraging, and Christ-centered book. Since I am generally a morose person (At least one person from a previous church nicknamed me Eeyore.), this book was a great help for me. I plan to read it again and with God’s help to start implementing the biblical ideas in this book.
There are two issues that may be problematic to some. First, some may object to Dr. Murray’s citing of secular psychologists and other happiness experts. However, he makes clear his reason for citing them, “God is using them not only to confirm the Bible’s teaching…but also to work out practical details of how to increase gratitude in our lives for everyone’s benefit.” Secondly, I have a difficult time seeing how the final chapter about diversity fits in with the topic of the rest of the book.
Check out Dr. Murray’s blog Happy Christian blog.