What I Learned About Happiness in 60 Days!
There are times you look at a book, and you know it makes you happy before you ever read the title. This book was one of those times. I opened the mail, and there was this bright yellow book, and I turned it over and read the title, “60 Days of Happiness.” My thoughts were this yellow book exudes happiness, and I haven’t read a word.
This a devotional by Randy Alcorn adapted from his book “Happiness.” Alcorn examines the role happiness has on the Christian life. Sometimes, especially for Christians, happiness is regarded as a temporary, wavering emotion while we are encouraged to pursue joy instead. Alcorn seeks to debunk this theory by examining where happiness is mentioned in the Bible. Alcorn states: “Some argue that the word happy is too unspiritual for Christians to use. But those who have studied the Hebrew word asher and Greek word makairios, which are frequently used in Scripture, know that those words definitely convey happiness.” (10-11) He later comments on the similarity between happiness and joy. “Saying that joy isn’t about being happy is like saying that rain isn’t wet or ice isn’t cold.” (45) When we look at words in the Bible often translated as joy or blessing, we notice the overall essence of happiness is displayed in Scripture more often than we thought.
Alcorn digs deeper by looking at happiness as an important, sometimes overlooked attribute of God. If Christians do not believe God is happy, Alcorn argues it will affect the way they view scripture. He writes: “If we think God is unhappy, we will interpret his words in Scripture accordingly.” (59) Instead of viewing laws and commands as ways in which God protects us and loves us, we will see rules and regulations as ways to steal our happiness. He even asks some out-of-the-box questions, like “Did Jesus have a sense of humor?” These types of questions are helpful in pondering how laughter and happiness are ingrained in the character of God and us as His image bearers.
As Christians, Alcorn affirms our call to be happy, even in a world that can bring such pain and sorrow. As those who have been given Good News in the Gospel, it’s important that others see our happiness in Christ! Who would be attracted to the Good News of the Gospel from Christians who are angry and resentful? I liked this way of connecting happiness with our call as Christians: “It’s not insensitive, unkind or wrong for us to be happy! By being happy in Christ, we lay claim to the fact that God is bigger than the Fall and affirm that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ indwells us and will reverse the Curse and reign over a new universe.” (79)
I give this book 4.0/5.0 stars. This devotional caused me to stop and define happiness, joy, and blessings. I looked to the scriptures to see God’s heart for me as I uncovered the happiness He wants us to experience. The topic of studying happiness is unique and thought provoking, but at times, the devotional did seem a bit repetitive. However, overall, I enjoyed reading this devotional.
[FCC Compliance: Tyndale House Publishers provided a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions are my own]