My Review of "With" by Skye Jathani

Skye Jethani's book, The Divine Commodity, is on my list of top 20 books, so when I heard that he was coming out with another book,  I knew I had to read it. I ordered it as soon as it was available on Amazon and I read most of it last week while doing stand-in work on a movie set.

You know how when your reading a good book and you have to stop but your always thinking about getting back to it? That's how I was with this book.

Jethani spends a lot of time on the four postures prevalent in Christianity, which are;

Life under God promotes moral certitude in a culture that can no longer define right and wrong. It tells us that obeying divine commands will be our anchor in these volatile times. 

Life over God the non atheist version, says hope will come from employing God's principles in your life. You can navigate to safe harbor if you just use the right charts. 

Life from God places hope in the process of self-actualization. Purpose comes from identifying and then fulfilling ones desires. 

Life for God finds hope in devoting ones life to the accomplishment of a purpose greater then one's self. Mission is the anchor that will give you meaning and significance.

He delves into why these are not necessarily bad but these postures apart from life WITH God are motivate more by fear or a need for control rather then being motivated by the love of God in us.

I related most to the Life FOR God posture. I realized that the fear of leaving this life without making an impact FOR GOD is what motivates me a lot of the time, and it is a fear, and the bible says that perfect love cast out ALL fear.

The most stabbing words in this book came from the paragraph where he talked about people who serve, give their time, work hard for the kingdom but are stressed, angry, not nice. That is me a lot of the time. Think about the people you know that do so much FOR God but they are not peaceful, they are not nice to their family when they come home, are not kind people. It's because they are living FOR him but not WITH him.

When you first start reading this book you may think that he's talking against Christians who want to be more "radical" in their lives which is the trend in a lot of churches right now. As someone who considers herself an activist, I love the current push toward helping orphans, feeding the hungry, and servant evangelism. But what he is saying concerning this is that good works that leave a lasting impact for the giver and the recipient, really come down to pure loving motivation. If we are radical out of fear of insignificance, then that is not going to last, it will not fulfill our deepest longing for connection WITH God. We will burn out or walk out works and legalism, motivated by a bondage to fear of insignificance and leading to nothing more then a resume, not a relationship with God.

After seeing myself  a lot in the Life FOR God posture, I wanted to know how to really live WITH God, not just For God.  I was happy to see that he doesn't give the tidy and legalistic leaning "step 1, 2 and 3 of how to pray" type answers, that never stick with me, instead he gives suggestions of how to pray, he explores attitudes of pray and what it means to be in constant communion with God and he talks about several people who made communing with God their life and how they did it.

The entire message of this book is punctuated near the end when he explores 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter.

Read it at face value, not through a wedding or marriage filter, but as Paul talking to us about love, real love, God who is love, having Him, that love, in our lives, walking with that love and it being our motivation...

 

1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)

 1 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
 8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
 13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.


Paul is saying that this is the only thing that will last. Love. This is where we have to live, IN love WITH God.

I highly recommend this book.

Comments