The Good Life: What Jesus Teaches About Finding True Happiness

Reviewed by:

Connor Salter, Professional Writing alumnus from Taylor University, Upland, IN.


The Good Life: What Jesus Teaches About Finding True Happiness


Dr. Derwin L. Gray (foreword by Beth Moore)


B&H Publishing

Publication Date:

June 2, 2020




256 Pages


We all desire happiness, and most of us have found out the things we thought make us happy didn’t fill that void. We look for the right job, the right spouse, the right Bible study, and then find that we still come up empty. Derwin L. Gray suggests that the secret is recognizing the happiness we crave is not what our culture has prepared us for. We are designed to seek something more abiding that can be found in Christ alone. He unpacks how the Beatitudes show attitudes that Jesus modeled which help us cultivate the abiding joy we find when we pursue a lifestyle shaped by Christ’s expectations rather than our own. Along the way, he shares not only stories about what he learned as he followed these attitudes, but also stories of people he’s counseled who found new freedom through becoming more like Christ.

Many books have been written on the Beatitudes, and have been used to argue any number of ideas. For example, The Ninefold Path of Jesus talks about the attitudes as traits that help us become better citizens. Here, Gray use the beatitudes to talk about an idea which initially seems to be defeating itself. He has a charismatic, enthusiastic writing style and it’s clear that he wants readers to find a better life starting right now. However, as he goes along, he makes it clear that following the Beatitudes isn’t about “finding your best life now” or any other self-help idea. Instead, he wants readers to find their ultimate joy in Christ, which exists regardless of circumstances. Near the book’s end, he notes that essentially what we are talking about is finding life in Christ, which involves not just salvation but also the Holy Spirit shaping us into new people. Therefore, these aren’t traits that we can practice alone.

So, the book balances a fine line between its motivational speaker tone, and the fact that Gray is telling readers that a motivational speech isn’t enough. Gray doesn’t always make these concepts fit seamlessly, but most of the time it works quite well. He walks that fine balance and gives readers a book that is upbeat, but also wise, encouraging readers to go beyond the surface level to find true peace.

Nicely written, inspiring and insightful stuff.


Rating (1 to 5 stars)

Four stars

Suggested audience

Christians interested in how the Beatitudes offer keys to spiritual and personal growth.

Christian Impact

The author unpacks various passages from the sermon on the Mount, showing how Jesus’ beatitude statements offer new ways to live.

The Good Life: What Jesus Teaches about Finding True Happiness

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