Sometimes we ask What is God’s will for my life? when we should really be asking Who should I be? The Bible has an answer: Be like the very image of God.
By exploring ten characteristics of who God is—holy, loving, just, good, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise—this book helps us understand who God intends for us to be. Through Christ, the perfect reflection of the image of God, we will discover how God’s own attributes impact how we live, leading to freedom and purpose as we follow his will and are conformed to his image.
Have you ever wanted to know what was God’s will for your life? Of course you have. Jen Wilkin suggests that a better question to ask would be: “Who Should I Be?” This question is answered within the very first chapter of the Bible – we should be the image of God.
In His Image is an exploration of ten of God’s attributes. The aim is to get us, His children, thinking about what it means to be made in God's image. When we know that, we learn to be more like Him.
The ten characteristics of God that are explored in this book also seek to give us a more complete picture of who God is. For example, we know that God is love. But we can’t truly understand His love without knowing that He is just.
We know that God is merciful and gracious but we typically try to separate the two, instead of as Jen puts it, seeing them as sisters. We separate God’s mercy and grace from His justice when in fact all three are connected.
Know God: In His Image is an invitation to learn more about the character of God. As children of God, we should hunger for a connection with Him. That connection will deepen as we spend time getting to know who He is.
Know yourself: As we learn more about who God is, a stark contrast emerges. God is so much greater than us. Who we are is tied up in who He is. At then end of each section Jen gives some verses for reflection and questions to ponder.
These questions ask you to think about the impact of God’s attributes on your life. They also encourage you to examine yourself in relation to God’s attributes – what do you need to change to better reflect the image of God.
Run your race: Each chapter ends with a prayer, or rather the guidelines to write a prayer. This is your chance to apply the lessons of the book. My prayer will be different from yours because my experiences are different. My interpretation of how the concepts expressed in the book apply to me will vary from another person’s.
The knowledge of God and the knowledge of self always go hand in hand.
This is a lesson that became very clear to me as I tried to redesign the website to be more inline with the tagline: Know God. Know yourself. Run your race. I realized that more times than not my “know yourself” posts were almost irretrievably tangled up in my “know God” posts. As we uncover more about God’s character, we learn more about ourselves.
Of all his attributes, the love of God is perhaps the hardest to conceive apart from the lesser, human versions of love that shape our understanding. Human love, even in its finest moments, can only whisper of the pure and holy love of God.
This is so true. It’s almost impossible for us to understand the love that God has for us. We try, but the human mind cannot compute the height, or breadth or depth of His love for us.
Agape is the word Jesus uses to instruct his disciples regarding those who hate them: “But agape your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.” (Luke 6:35)
This concept gave me a moment of pause. If I am to love my enemies in an agape kind of way, then I am to love them in a way that doesn’t make sense. It’s a love that loves at all costs and has no boundaries. At the same time, that’s the love that someone who considers me their enemy ought to have for me.
But let us marvel that even in our rebellious state, God’s goodness endures toward us in a thousand circumstances. He gives us daily bread, and often more than just that, though we are given to the habit of complaining for what we lack rather than contentment with what we possess. He gives us the joy of family and friends, though we are more prone to rage against him for the hard relationships than to thank him for the sweet ones. He grants us, on the whole, more days of joy than of sorrow, though our darkened hearts are more apt to curse him for the hard times than to bless him for the happy ones.
These words put the concept of God’s goodness, mercy and grace into sharp focus. We have much to be grateful for though we may not agree.
Though in human terms, justice is portrayed as blind, the justice of God is wide-eyed and clear-sighted. God knows all actions and thoughts and motives so he wields the scepter of justice with clear vision.
Judge not lest ye be judged. Too often we point fingers at our brothers and sisters thinking that we know them and their circumstances when the truth is we only have a limited knowledge. When we remember that only God knows everything, we remember that only He understands the heart and the motives behind every action. He is therefore the only person capable of being a Judge.
I received a copy of In His Image from the Crossway Blogger Review Program, a positive review was not required.
Jen Wilkin is a speaker, writer, and Bible teacher. She has a background in women’s ministry, and has organized and led studies for women in home, church, and parachurch contexts. Jen and her family are members of the Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. Jen’s passion is to see believers become articulate and committed followers of Christ, with a clear understanding of why they believe what they believe, grounded in the Word of God. You can find her at jenwilkin.net.
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