Saturday, October 1, 2011

Book Review: With by Skye Jethani

I just finished reading With by Skye Jethani and I thought it was excellent! Subtitled "Re-imagining the Way You Relate to God" Jethani unpacks 4 common ways of relating to God and how those fall short and then devotes the last 4 chapters to look at how we can live a life with God.
He starts out his book with looking at common ways we all relate to God. We live life under God, life over God, life from God and life for God. With each of these styles of relating Jethani unpacks the good stuff we get but also how each of these falls short. Life Under God essentially means that if I do all the "right" things and follow all of Gods rules, he will bless me. On the surface this looks great but dig deeper and there is no relationship with God. The prophet Isaiah sums it up well (Isaiah 29:13) "These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules that have been taught."
Next he tackles life over God, he mentions atheism but more so he looks at Christians whose understanding of faith leaves little room or need for God. This way of relating to God reduces faith to principles, divine laws and applicable instructions. Basically a way to exert more control into our lives. This exchanges a relationship with God for applicable principles.
Life from God, this posture looks at God to supply whatever we want or need. We become the consumer, putting ourselves in the center of our universe and God is around to help us be the best we can be.
Life for God, this posture looks at how we can live our lives to accomplish his mission however we may define it. On the surface this looks great too, and it would be great to have more Christians doing Gods work, but a life spent for God is not what God desires. God's mission shouldn't define our lives, God himself should. Jethani looks closely at the life of Paul in this chapter and in Paul's life we see that he understood that his calling was not the same as his treasure. The problem comes when we find our significance and worth in serving or obedience instead of in God.
The last 4 chapters Jethani unpacks what life with God looks like. He starts with looking at the Good News of the Gospel and reminds us what Christ did for us all on the cross. He looks at a life with God, life with faith, life with hope and life with love.
He ends the book with an appendix that gives some good practices; praying with the scriptures, praying with the Church, praying with the Holy Spirit. For small groups, he also includes discussion questions!
All in all, I really enjoyed this book, Jethani does a great job of unpacking how we can live a life with God. I would recommend this book!

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