In With, Skye Jethani tries to show us that the best way for us to relate to God is to have a “Life with God.” He begins by explaining four common ways people tend to relate to God and how they come up short:
Life under God – a focus on following rituals or commands to please God or avoid his wrath.
Life over God – best used to describe an atheist, but can also be a “Christian” who uses the Bible as mere instructions or helpful principles for getting through life or finding success.
Life from God – a “consumer”-like behavior in which we use God as means of getting what we want (prosperity and other blessings).
Life for God – a focus on devoting our lives to God’s work (charity, missions, etc) and defining our value based on the results of these things.
His argument is that none of these things require a true relationship with God. They are merely an attempt to control our lives and God’s input into our lives. They do not remove fear from our lives (in some cases they made make us fearful) and they do not give us any real control.
The second half of the book explains a Life with God. Through the words of the Bible (from Genesis to Revelation) Jethani points out that God wants a relationship with his creation. We were made for a relationship (Genesis) and we will ultimately be in relationship again (Revelation), but we don’t have to wait. We can have that relationship now. There are commands that we have been told to follow (especially the command to love), but if this becomes your sole focus then you risk becoming like the Pharisees. The Bible does have many useful principle and lessons that God has given us, but if you focus on this you run the risk of removing God from the equation. God does give us blessings, but if you only ever go to God for your wants and needs then you are treating God like a vending machine. And there is nothing wrong with doing God’s work, but if God has not specifically called you to missions and charity work then making this your only focus can leave you worn out and wondering about the significance of your life as whole. The only a relationship with God, through Christ, can give us the freedom from fear we are trying to obtain on our own, and a true relationship with God begins when our desire becomes not what God can give us or do for us… but GOD!
The only problem I had with this book is the tone that exists through the first half. Jethani sounds quite harsh at points and even judgemental. The best example of this is when he quotes a certain preacher (calling the preacher out by name) as saying “I believe God wants us to have nice things” as an example of Life from God. Jethani later calls the preacher “greedy,” but any knowledge of this preacher would show that isn’t true. This harsh and judgemental tone almost made me stop reading. It was becoming a distraction from the message. But thankfully I pressed on, because the point is valid. We are to love the Lord with all our heart, putting Him first. He should be our ultimate desire.
This book is an example of not throwing the baby out with the bath water. Get through the first half and its harsh tone and you will discover truths that were there all along. They’ve just gotten lost as we’ve become more and more focused on ourselves.
1) Is it understandable? = 5
2) Presentation of Information = 3.5
3) Accuracy = 4
4) Quality of Writing = 5
5) Overall Enjoyability = 4.5
Average of score 4.4
Overall grade = B
I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes from BookSneeze.
This was book 28 in my 52 Books in 52 Weeks challenge.