Ron Reffett is a regular contributor to Believers Radio and his blog posts are redistributed here with permission.
If you walk into most Christian bookstores today, you’ll find the shelves lined with what I like to call, Spiritual Junk-food. It may provide some satisfaction but nothing of any lasting value. I have observed title after title of books that say or infer that God truly wants you to be happy, no matter what your circumstances may be. I disagree with them, I believe that the Lord would have us to be joyful in the midst of our circumstances not necessarily “happy”,
I myself have struggled with depression for quite some time now, it’s not the severe type where getting out of bed in the morning is a chore, (though I have been there). I’ve truly come to consider it as a thorn in my flesh, something that the Lord has allowed in my life to keep me more dependent on Him. I have also been greatly assisted in my depression by some wonderful books, both from living writers and ones that have passed into eternity. Of the ones that have been truly helpful, David Murray’s name stands out. His previous book on the subject “Christians Get Depressed Too” is short but so incredibly helpful especially if you find yourself struggling with depression.
Murray’s latest book, “The Happy Christian” may sound like a contradiction to what I said previously concerning a lot of Christian books today, but rest assured it is not. Murray takes us through ten different ways for us to experience joy in a world that would encourage pessimism and gloom. There are so many great thoughts within the book, one of many that stand out is this gem;
“The most important work has been done and covers all our laziness, all our foolishness, all our time wasting, all our bad decisions, all our temper tantrums, all our losses, all our inabilities, all our everything.”
The thing that I love about David Murray’s writing is that is saturated with the Gospel, which when we look at life through the lens of the Gospel, we see things very differently. It is no longer about us and our feelings, it is about rejoicing in the fact that THE most important thing has indeed been taken care of. Namely our sin being abolished for good, and we as believers will never experience God’s wrath! That is indeed a reason to be joyful!
Murray states very clearly that the gospel must be our constant focus as he says: “Few of us can remember much of what we learned in high school. Some of us can hardly remember what we learned yesterday. It’s no big deal, however if I don’t remember the French for snail or the number of ions in sodium phosphate. My French and chemistry teachers would be amazed at how well I can survive without that knowledge. But I cannot survive or thrive if I forget the gospel.”
He goes on to say, “That is why we need to constantly study salvation. End times prophecy, ways to combat cults, church history, biblical languages, ethics, practical Christian living, and so forth, have their places, but they must never displace salvation as our favorite topic of study.”
That topic alone is extremely vast, and I don’t think that we will ever tire or exhaust that topic. That is what I love about “The Happy Christian” it’s not a book that’s filled with 10 steps to a newer me, or a new formula on how to be a better whatever, the book is saturated with gospel truth and gospel indicatives that lead to a more objective way of living the Christian life.
So, if you find yourself struggling with being joyful or if you struggle with depression, either of David Murray’s books would be an immense help to you. Take it from someone who struggles in this life, as Jack Miller used to say;
“Cheer up! You’re a worse sinner than you ever dared imagine, and you’re more loved than you ever dared hope.”
Source: Think On These Things