Non-Fiction Book Review: The Happy Christian by David Murray

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Book Title: The Happy Christian
Author: David Murray
Publisher: HarperCollins Christian Publishing
Year Published: 2015

Availability: Click for an available copy from Amazon

The Happy Christian by David MurrayYou know what? I woke up happy this morning. It was quite a relief with my various health problems to have been able to wake up and hear the birds singing, see the sun shine through my window and then there was that wonderful taste of cornflakes that tickled my tummy. Then, my son woke up grumpy like he does most every day, the car started making some weird noise (again), and I made some very bad choices that negatively affected our family finances. On top of it all, I listened to my Bible this morning. I actually listened to 1st John multiple times on BibleGateway.com. I prayed and I prayed some more.

Despite the Bible listening and prayers, I was no where near as happy of a Christian at 10:00 a.m. that I was at 6:30 a.m. Why is that? Well, David Murray has answers to why Christians aren’t nearly as happy as they should be. Better yet, he outlines ten ways we could actually capture the happiness we should have and keep it in our lives. After all, we are Christians and if we are going to be the light to the world, our bulbs need to stop burning out every single time something goes wrong. Well, enough of my preaching and onto the book.

At first glance, looking at the table of contents, I’d say I agree with 70% of the assumptions in this book. I like the way the TOC is laid out. For example Chapter 1 is titled HAPPY FACTS and below the title of the chapter is this: Facts > Feelings = Positive + The gist of that is if you have more facts in your life than feelings the end result will be a positive one. I agree with that and I agree with most of his mathematical formula as seen in the chapter titles. I was intrigued so I opened the book to see what this happy Christian thing was all about. The author puts right up front in the introduction this little gem from King Solomon, “As a person thinks in his heart, so is he.” I guess you could close the book and put it down with a grand lesson learned just on page one of the introduction. But if you continue reading, you will be even more blessed.

The problem I have is that I am a very positive person, but I am so weak that I let life beat me up and bring me back down to the land of negativity. I can follow some of the guidelines David Murray prescribes in THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN, but without following all, how will I succeed in being happy? It’s as he states in the beginning about a complex math problem. We have to follow every bit of the formula or the solution will be a false one. We will fail. I will fail. I fear that.

I will take some advice from THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN and easily be able to follow it, especially the words found in the chapter “Happy Media.” I will lessen, if not totally eliminate the negative I see on TV and the internet. I may feel mighty ignorant in doing so, but I’ll ignore the Muslim beheadings of Christians and America’s lack of response and I will ignore all other evil (not that the author calls for readers to do that specifically) but I know my constant focus on those things helps me live a negative life and have a negative faith. I will also try harder to follow Murray’s guidelines in other chapters like Happy Praise and Happy Work. Those are two areas where I personally need the most help.

Highlights to be on the look out for are too numerous to mention them all, but I especially enjoyed the play by play given to one of the most quoted verses in the New Testament, Philippians 4:8. David Murray actually does go into precise detail on those goodies Paul tells us to focus upon. Another highlight is the very gospel centered message that rings through in chapter 3. The “DONE” of Jesus which Murray speaks of is liberating and this chapter should be read by preachers everywhere. We need more messages like this in our lives. I can see how this could help us be happy. As a church consultant for small to mid-sized congregations, I’d have to say Amen to everything mentioned in chapter 4. Wonder why your church is losing members and more people aren’t waiting in a line outside to come in? Well, there are a bunch of answers in this enlightening chapter for you. A final highlight I will mention, because really, there are just too many to list, is the beginning of chapter 8 where Murray shares depressing stats about the ME generation and how their arrogance and “give me” attitude ruins their “initiative, independence, inventiveness, resourcefulness and motivation.” Bravo, Mr. Murray for this insight and for focusing on how we should be happy givers instead.

But will doing all that the author suggests really help? You know the reason why there is a plethora of self-help books published every year? It’s because rarely do people like myself follow through with what is written in their pages. We simply digest the words, follow some suggestions for a few days and then like magic, we’re back to our old sorry selves. If you decide to follow what David Murray says in THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN, it would be best to follow his suggestions for six months to a year and follow them religiously to see if all the positivity actually helps. I believe it will. I just don’t believe I have the strength to pull that off. Please pray for me and if you want, I’ll pray for you too. Seriously, just leave a comment below.

I’ll leave you with this, the author makes it perfectly clear in THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN that each of us, if we live an unhappy life, can change things around. It all begins with our minds. Our minds can be renewed or transformed, the Bible tells us so, science even tells us so. Now, we just have to have the will to be transformed into the happy Christians God wants us to be.

And for any of you who have doubts about this just being another positive thinking book, THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN is not Norman Vincent Peale babble dressed up in a nice bright happy looking blue cover. There is a real foundation here and and that foundation is a true faith in Jesus, our Savior.

Read THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN, especially if you have at least an ounce of will power and a commitment to live a happy life and make sure to come back here after you read it and leave us your comments. We’d love to have your thoughts on this wonderful book.

Bible Passages and Verses to read along with THE HAPPY CHRISTIAN
Psalm 77
Philippians 4:8
John 19:30

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