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Monday, April 30, 2018

"In His Image" (Jen Wilkin)

TITLE: In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character
AUTHOR: Jen Wilkin
PUBLISHER: Wheaton, IL: Crossway Publishers, 2018, (176 pages).

This book makes an audacious claim, that after reading this book, we will never have to ask what God's will is for us in the conventional way. Instead of "What should I do?" ask the better questions: "What should I be?" Knowing what we ought to become would guide all of our questions pertaining to our goals, our future, and our desire to honour God. This simple but highly effective paradigm shift puts us on a whole new path forward as far as seeking God's will is concerned. It is essentially following that narrow way, the kingdom road, the path of God's character. We turn our search for something outside of ourselves into an awareness of an inner need for change. We become less interested in spiritual information and look toward spiritual formation. We follow less in the ways of the world and more in the way of Christ.  Ways like being holy to be more like God. Being more loving to grow beyond human limited love toward spiritual freedom that loves beyond limit. We learn about God's goodness that we could aspire to emulate. That light is not just about doing good things. It's about reflecting Christ's goodness. We learn about just law, just discipline, just wrath, and just character. We learn mercy, graciousness, faithfulness, patience, truthfulness, and wisdom, all of these attributes are exactly what we need and all could be found in God. The goal is to become better people ourselves. The way is to reflect Christ's character. Turn away from the world. Turn toward Christ. Move forward to become more and more like Christ each day. The 10 ways that Wilkin has listed can help kickstart our journey to become more like God.

Three Thoughts
First, this book addresses a popular question at a lay level. Written clearly and directed at a general Christian public, she poses the need to change the way we ask questions about God's will. I have read many books on Christian discernment and the ways to find the will of God. Many of these books are weighty and packed with information that might be too daunting for busy people hard-pressed for time. By changing the question, Wilkin frees herself from being compared to the other heavier volumes and more theological treatments about what God's will is.

Second, her point about moving from "doing" to "being" is nothing new but still bears repeating due to the importance and frequency of people asking about it. Many spiritual masters have spoken widely about this. Some even turn it into humourous quips like "Do-Be-Do-Be-Do" or clever phrases like "let's be human BEings instead of human DOings." If something is important, repetition is no problem. The problem lies in our tendency to forget things we have heard and seen.

Third, without practice, this book would vanish into the background while we await another book about God's will. The best questions could be asked. The best answers could be given. Until we learn to apply it ourselves, we will not progress beyond head knowledge. Begin with any of the 10 ways Wilkin has listed. If you could practise even one, that would be massive already. For the more adventurous, there are plenty of inspiration from the Bible to grow more into the image of Christ. Take the fruit of the Spirit; the gifts of the Spirit; and the call to love one another in ways described in 1 Corinthians 13. The Bible would be an invaluable resource. Hopefully, this book would inspire people to dig deeper into the Word themselves, so that they could grow beyond just 10 ways.

A useful book to help guide our constant search to be better people each day.

Jen Wilkin is wife, mother of four kids, and a popular contributor on several Christian websites. She leads women bible studies regularly and calls The Village Church as her spiritual home.

Rating: 4 stars of 5.


This book has been provided courtesy of Crossway Publishers and NetGalley without requiring a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

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