Saturday, August 6, 2011

Review: With by Skye Jethani

If people are supposed to find comfort in relating to God, why do so many people approach God and find themselves completely dissatisfied and disheartened? Skye Jethani, in his new book WITH, suggests that many people have been inoculated to the gospel by the posture they've learned or inherited to approach God. WITH walks us through the most common primary ways that people have taken in approaching God, and Jethani reveals that the most natural thing human beings do is try to control God and rid themselves of the fears our world produces. While this is true of all people, Jethani's focus is on Christians' views of God and the all too common experience of a faith that leaves us feeling more afraid and frustrated than feeling alive. Using the prepositions of OVER, UNDER, FROM, and FOR, Jethani illustrates the primary ways Christians approach God.

· Life under God sees God as someone who needs to be appeased by our morality so that he'll bless us.
· Life over God sees him as the impersonal force who created the principles for us to live by to be successful and sees the Bible primarily as a how-to book.
· Life from God sees God simply as the giver of good things.
· Life for God sees what we do for God as the only way to make God happy with us. While there is good in each posture, each of them as primary are really a means to attempt to manipulate and control God to lessen the chaos and fears of our lives and earn God's approval.

The problem is that none of them actually accomplish what they've set out to do. People are left not sure what to do because most don't approach God intentionally trying to control God. But there is hope because there is a fifth posture in approaching God--Life with God. Life with God realizes that God loves and delights in us and wants to be with us. It's only in being with God that our fears are lessened and we find our greatest joy and satisfaction in our relationship with God.

This was one of the most thought-provoking non-fiction books I've read this year and Jethani's biblical insights are a great resource to helping Christ followers experience a relationship with God that is truly satisfying and transformational. As I read through each of the approaches to God, I could think of times in my life when I had approached God in such a way. Times when I've viewed God in a utilitarian way rather than pursuing God himself. Each of these times left me completely dissatisfied.

If I had any reservation about the book, it would be that someone might come away from the book with a diminished sense of God’s expectations on our lives and the severity of our sin, though the author does try to shy away from that implication. I also wish there was more practical recommendations on how to engage the Bible at the end, in addition to the prayer exercises.

I thought the book was very thought-provoking and would be very helpful to Christians struggling with their view of God.

I received this book for free from

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