Book Review: The Happy Christian by Dr. David Murray

Book Review: The Happy Christian by Dr. David MurrayThe Happy Christian by David Murray
Published by Thomas Nelson Incorporated on July 31st 2015
Genres: Happiness, Personal Growth, Self-Help

A unique combination of biblical teaching, scientific research, and personal biography shows those who follow Jesus how to live joyful, purposeful lives.

Hopelessness has invaded much of our culture, even reaching deep into the church. But while the world is awash in negativity, Christians have resources to live differently.

Dr. David Murray’s new book The Happy Christian: Ten Ways to be a Joyful Believer in a Gloomy World, presents the following ten ways to be joyful:

   ♦  Focus on the facts more than your feelings
   ♦  Avoid so much bad news and focus on good news
   ♦  Focus on the fact that Christ’s work of salvation is already finished
   ♦  Focus on the strengths of other Christians instead of their weaknesses
   ♦  Focus strengths of other Christians instead of their weaknesses
   ♦  Find God’s common grace in the world instead of sin and evil
   ♦  Find things to praise people for instead of critique them
   ♦  Give money and things away instead of hoarding 
   ♦  See work as a calling instead of a job
   ♦  Be around people of different ethnicities instead of one ethnicity

Dr. David Murray provides Christians with strategies to live happier and more positive lives, while being very realistic in his approach. He observes that the Bible is a positive source.  Dr. Murray doesn’t prescribe that “positive thinking” method so many so-called experts rely on, but instead he directs the reader to having “realistic thinking” while having “positive faith”.

A non-believing friend of mine once told me that I was being too optimistic when relying on God to help me with difficult choices in my life.  Dr. Murray points out “optimism is not faith, but faith is optimistic”. I wish I would have had that phrase to share with my friend back then.

Dr. Murray’s approach focuses on the biblical truth and the finished work of Christ.  It is clear that Dr. Murray has read the popular and academic literature and he does not dismiss psychology as some Christians may do at times. He uses this academic information to assist the reader in gaining an understanding and to provide a Christ-centered and biblically based perspective. Dr. Murray also provides his reason for citing these popular and academic writers by saying, “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.”

This book addresses a broad range of issues and how they can influence the life of the Christian. For example, Dr. Murray discusses such things as how too much “negative news” can be psychologically damaging, how focusing on the past can sometimes be problematic, and how giving freely helps give us freedom. 

Dr. Murray explores such topics as the gospel message, and a Christian’s relationship and interaction with the world in work, media, church, the world, and selfless practices such as giving as I listed above. It is definitely a book centered on the Bible, with appropriate verses and passages, while also filled with good illustrations, statistics, scientific research, and references from modern culture that make this book applicable and relatable

Overall, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is looking to find more happiness in their life and to be more joyful. I could go over the list above from one to ten and discuss how each of these things need to be improved and how they impact my life, but instead, I will save that for my own self-evaluation and allow you to do the same.

A really cool thing too, is what I found on Dr. Murray’s website, HappyChristian – it looks like there will be an app coming out soon for both GooglePlay and the Apple AppStore called “The Happy App: A Daily Diet of Joy in a Gloomy World”.  This will be a free app “delivering articles, devotionals, videos, quotes, and news items that will generate and maintain Christian joy”.  That should be awesome!

In exchange for this review, I was provided with a free copy of this book by Thomas Nelson Books. I was not required to submit a positive review of this book.


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