Jen Wilkin approaches the topic of God’s character with a frequently asked question: ‘what is God’s will for my life?’ In her book In His Image, she suggests instead of asking ‘what should I do in such and such circumstances’, the better question is ‘who should I be?’ God’s will for each believer, plainly written down in the Bible, is that they are to be like Christ.
The book lists ten characteristics of God that God calls Christians to reflect ‘in his image’. They are:
Each chapter unpacks one characteristic. What does it mean for God to be holy? What does ‘loving’ really mean? Have we misunderstood or twisted or even corrupted the meaning of ‘love’ in our culture? What does God do in his ‘goodness’? What does it look like to be ‘just’? What are the differences and similarities between ‘merciful’ and ‘gracious’? In what specific areas is God faithful to us? What’s the difference between ‘wisdom’ and ‘knowledge’?
I noticed each chapter spends most of its pages explaining the meaning of the word and God’s character, and only a small portion on how Christian should react and respond as a result. Which I think it’s definitely the right way round.
After the body text, there are ‘verses for meditation’ and ‘questions for reflection’, which make this book great for small groups or one-to-one studies. And the chapter concludes with a ‘pray’ section that prompts readers to write down a prayer in response.
The book is a great reminder of what kind of people followers of Jesus should be like, but the greater challenge will be to live it out. And next time I ask ‘what’s God’s will’ when I face a decision, I’ll remember what I learnt in this book.
P.S Jen Wilkin wrote this book as one of a pair, the other one is None Like Him. See the blurb below. I don’t remember reading a book specifically about the unique qualities of God. I’m interested!
“Human beings were created to reflect the image of God – but only to a limited extent. Although we share important attributes with God (love, mercy, compassion, etc.), there are other qualities that only God possesses, such as unlimited power, knowledge, and authority. At the root of all sin is our rebellious desire to be like God in such ways – a desire that first manifested itself in the garden of Eden.
“In None Like Him, Jen Wilkin leads us on a journey to discover ten ways God is different from us – and why that’s a good thing. In the process, she highlights the joy of seeing our limited selves in relation to a limitless God, and how such a realisation frees us from striving to be more than we were created to be.”