With my co-author and friend, J.P. Moreland, we wrote The Lost Virtue of Happiness in order to redeem the contemporary notion of "happiness" from a narcissistic grip and to show that true happiness is flourishing as a human person in the way that God designed us to be as followers of Jesus.
We wanted the reality of the Kingdom of God (and the meaningful life that is experienced in that kingdom) to reflect large in our discussion about happiness and the good life. And so, our book, in part, is about learning to be disciplined in this life as a follower of Christ. As chapter one and two demonstrate, we are meant to flourish in a life of virtue and character formation that manifests itself in wisdom, kindness and goodness.
Chapter three is all about forming a heart that is tender and receptive to God and to the transforming work of His kingdom. That chapter helps the reader to focus on forming a thoughtful mind that is stayed on God (chapter four) and then forming a trusting will that risks with God (chapter 5). This cluster of chapters is intended to unpack the meaning of our life in Christ and what it means to be good at following Him as He shepherds and empowers our lives.
The contemporary notion of happiness is often dominated by whether one feels a certain way. Feelings and emotions, especially when ordered appropriately, are valuable insights into our heart. But a life that is lived by feelings alone is a terrible master. Chapter six and seven address how to follow God when He feels distant or when we experience "divine hiding" or when we are confronted by our own anxieties and fears.
We end the book with a chapter focused on cultivating spiritual friendships, which has been an important theme in my other books, such as Wasting Time With God. The value of friendship, mentoring and modeling as a means of learning to grow in our life is often minimized or even forsaken in contemporary discussions about discipleship. But we think that spiritual friendship and the importance of the local church must figure prominently in our training for life in the Kingdom.
If The Lost Virtue of Happiness is a book that interests you, please consider my co-authored book with J.P., titled, In Search of a Confident Faith. That book attempts to do for "faith" what we try to do for "happiness."
Click here to read Chapter 1