When I was little, one of my favorite songs in Sunday School was the “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” song. I loved life, loved church and was a pretty optimistic kid. Talk to some Christians though and it’s like God is trying to make them swallow some bitter medicine in order to get to Heaven. They look miserable and they make everyone around them unhappy. Why would anyone want to be a part of that?
Needless to say, I was interested when offered the chance to review 60 Days of Happiness: Discover God’s Promise of Relentless Joy by Randy Alcorn. Evidently this is a companion book to the original Happiness book (which I have not read). The book contains a series of sixty short essays on the subject of happiness – specifically as it relates to Christians.
Each day begins with a quote from scripture and a quote from a person who may or may not be familiar to the reader. The essays are three or four smaller pages long. They cover a huge number of topics, not just various angles of three or four as one might expect. Some deal with personal happiness, while others deal with the happiness of God. Many have a practical slant like to feasts make God happy or is it selfish to want to be happy.
I am torn about the actual content of the book. While much of it is fine theologically, there were a few instances that caused me to raise an eyebrow (or two). I also wonder if such an emphasis on happiness encourages people to ignore the parts of scripture where Jesus talks about the way being narrow and difficult. On the other hand, if you are determined to be a miserable Christian, I think the essays are a great reminder of the joy we are supposed to have in our walk.
Which brings me to my other reservation. Maybe it was just my mood when I read it, but some of the entries felt a little dry to me. I think the book is more interesting and helpful if read as designed – one day at a time for two months. When read like a book (which I needed to do to review it in time), it just feels a little repetitive even with such varied topics.
If you struggle with finding the joy in being a Christian or a Christian family, this book can help re-tool your thinking. Take it a day at a time though and double check the scriptures for some of the theology. If you are already a pretty happy Christian, I don’t know that you will gain that much from this book. It won’t hurt to reinforce your joy, but I’m not sure it will add much to it either.
This book was given to me in exchange for my honest review. An affiliate link is included for your convenience.