40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When you allow God’s Word to permanently occupy your heart and mind, it inevitably shapes your attitude and worldview. As the Word dwells within you, you gain the strength and endurance to act as he would have you act… “If you remain in me and my words remain in you, you may ask for anything you want, and it will be granted.”
In this 40-day inspirational/motivational/devotional encourages Christians to use the principle laid out in Philippians 4:8 to become experience more joy in their daily lives.
“Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praise-worthy — meditate on these things.”
The daily readings and personal worksheets that go with them each take a type of joy (The Joy of Creation, the Joy of Imagination, the Joy of Discovery, etc) and break it down into simple, practical, what-can-I-do, hands-on applications to daily life. The author challenges the reader to look into his life, to focus on the positive, to see God’s hand at work in his life, and to decide to actively pursue a joyful life. The power of positive thinking can certainly create changes in one’s life, and the author breaks this down in bite-size, manageable chunks.
I struggled considerably with the daily drills. These daily tasks required the readers to spell out in great detail how they would apply the day’s lesson to their lives. Sometimes this was hard for me because I didn’t feel like it applied to me; these things weren’t things that I struggled with (“identify up to three of your most common Really Awful Thoughts”), others were too vague for me to flesh out (“create a one-page game plan for dealing with future adversity”), and others still just didn’t seem to apply to me at this point in my life.
What I was most disappointed with, however, was the lack of Biblical basis for all of this. I will say outright that I have not read the companion book, “The 4:8 Principle” yet, so perhaps this volume addresses my concerns, but I found myself wanting MORE Bible passages quoted in this devotional. Day 4 encourages a daily quiet time of Bible study and prayer, and Day 40 (quoted above) compels the reader to remain in God’s presence through His Word, but between those two days, there were many days with no Scripture quotes at all, where the focus seems to be more on how to alter your mindset and think positively, rather than how a Christian, specifically, can do that, making it no different from any other “be happy” self-help book out there. Statements like “You have no greater responsibility than to determine what God put you here on earth to accomplish” seem to not only mystify God’s will, but also puts the pressure back on the reader, adding stress, rather than joy.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book!
Overall: A self-help regiment focusing on the power of positive thinking in a Christian’s life.