When I first started reading this book I will admit that it was out of obligation. The book was a gift (given twice I might add) from my in-laws… apparently I come across as a not-happy guy. I actually thought it was going to be depressing on many levels. I mean, really… this is Spurgeon… the artist formerly known as Prince (of preachers). I’m sure he had much to be joyful about. A fruitful ministry, preaching to thousands in the famed Metropolitan Tabernacle, and a life message that is still revered to this day… what’s not to be happy about?
Another reason I was not in a huge hurry to read this volume was its title. I am no fan of “how-to” books. I find them to be largely prescriptive and usually formulaic. Not this one. The more I read the better it became!
So, how does one have real joy? Focus on Christ. The premise of the book is that knowing Christ means knowing and having real joy. This definition truly runs contrary to much of the thinking of this age. Joy is not found in a better way of life. No joy in getting a promotion (at least not lasting). Though there is fleeting happiness associated with the accumulating of things, there can never be permanent joy in any other than Christ.
Spurgeon is quick to point out that joy will not mean the absence of pain. In fact, it will most likely mean that suffering will come as an opportunity for us to turn away from our external circumstances and to the eternal solutions that only Christ can offer. What a wonderful reminder that joy is not found in feeling or situation. Joy is found in Jesus.