Those pursuing to grow in Christ and redeem every moment often fail to properly delight in the goodness that God provides to us. Voices on the left, like Lee Hull Moses in More than Enough, feel guilty for the abundance of life in the United States. For both groups, guilt can become a trap that steals joy from the Christian life, which is a tragedy of significant proportions.
In contrast, Trillia Newbell’s recent volume, Enjoy: Finding the Freedom to Delight Daily in God’s Good Gifts, provides an antidote to guilt over the good gifts God provides. Instead, Newbell encourages her readers to delight in the good gifts that God provides.
The volume is targeted toward women, though I found the content instructive and helpful. This is a text that is self-consciously structured for book studies, with roughly even chapter sizes, discussion questions and prayer prompts.
Enjoy has eleven chapters, each with a different topic. In Chapter One, Newbell begins with an invitation to enjoy, where she counters the tendency toward guilt among Christians. The second chapter deals with friendship as a gift from God. Newbell moves on in Chapter Three to discuss the joy of sexual intimacy, while also emphasizing the goodness of singleness. The fourth and fifth chapter emphasize the goodness of work and rest, respectively. Chapter Six deals with the blessing of money and possessions, noting that they can also become a trap that robs joy and blessing. The seventh chapter outlines enjoyment in food. Chapter Eight highlights a theology of creation and the appropriateness of responding joyfully with that. The ninth chapter speaks to enjoying art, which is a needed corrective for evangelicals. In Chapter Ten, Newbell points her readers back to the main focus of the volume, which is delight in the God who gives us everything. Chapter Eleven focuses on our future, greater enjoyment of God’s goodness in heaven.
Newbell’s latest volume is an example of the well-written, engaging, theological informed resources the church needs. With Christian bookstore shelves often dominated by bad theology or poorly written books, Enjoy improves the available options. This is a resource that is useful, necessary, and sound.
Importantly, this volume strikes the right balance for us in this life of American prosperity. There is great suffering in the world, but we do not need to feel guilty for God’s good gifts for us. At the same time, we must be careful to properly enjoy those good things God has given us. So much of our culture seems to fall into the trap of discontentedly longing for more and guiltily partaking of the good around us. Newbell offers a middle option that delights in God’s grace.
All is grace. Newbell reminds us of that in this volume. For that she deserves to be congratulated.
God deserves to be enjoyed. We find this explained with numerous examples in Enjoy. For this, the book warrants being read.
Note: I received a gratis copy of this volume from the publisher with no expectation of a positive review.