Book Review: “With” by Skye Jethani

Is it your desire to connect with and honor God? Do you strive to know Him and hope for Him to be real in your life? How would you feel if you were told that the way you are seeking after God may not be working because you aren’t going about it the way that works.

God wants us to be with Him, but all too often we fall into the trappings of a different way of relating with Him. In With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God, Skye Jethani (senior editor of Leadership Journal) challenges us to identify which of four postures we currently relate to God from, and return to the heart of being with Him.

Jethani identifies four ways that we typically relate with God:

  • Life UNDER God
  • Life OVER God
  • Life FROM God
  • Life FOR God

Each of these postures of relationship with God are found in our churches. We teach them, live them, and expect them of others. At different points in our life we may find ourselves challenged to move from one to another. Yet none of these fulfill the goal God had in mind when He created us. In the Garden of Eden we are told that Adam and Eve were with God. When we struggle after fulfilling one of these other postures of relationship, we end up building barriers that hold us back from that intended relationship.

What does God want from us? US! He loves us as we are, not as we think we should be. He loves us where we are, not after accomplishing some string of great feats for Him. He wants us, the good, the bad and the ugly. And we should be encouraged by this.

As a pastor I was especially challenged by this book. I often take parts of most of these postures and encourage people toward them (with the exception of life OVER God). Is it possible that I am encouraging thinking and action that could keep someone apart from a real relationship with God? I pray it isn’t so. And now I’ll be extra careful.

With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God is easy to read but will take time to process. I did not read it quickly, but over the course of a couple weeks so that I could really consider what was being presented to me. This is how I recommend you read this book.

For anyone unfulfilled or unsure of what God is truly wanting from them, read this book. Pastors and teachers, please read this book, if for no other reason than to challenge the life you are calling others to live.

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