Monday, October 17, 2011

"With" Review--Part Two

It's easy to take fault with the title of this book--With: Reimaging the Way You Relate to God. With? Huh? And what's precisely wrong about how I relate to God? 

One example from my life is my LIFE FOR GOD obsession that I wrote about in my spiritual memoir, Getting Off the Niceness Treadmill, published in 2009. That obsession was wrong--I was looking for significance and the credit for all the nice things I did FOR others and God. But biblical kindness that gives God the glory is what is needed and God doesn't need me working for Him. He just wants to be WITH me.

The Point of Skye Jethani's New Book

Some of us have grown up in legalism. For example, I was not allowed to dance in high school and I also signed a code in the 1960's in a Christian college that I would not dance. This is Life UNDER God. What's really wrong with life under God? I gave you the outward conformity without my heart.  Just adhering to a creed, even a correct creed, may be Life UNDER God.

Life OVER God is of course ignoring God's Word, or secularism. Pastors can use management of churches, grow them large and hollow with Life OVER God. You can be a Christian deist, the author points out.

Life FROM God? Doesn't God bless us? God does bless us, but sometimes he uses suffering to draw us close to Himself. He is not the divine sugar daddy where we run to get what WE want.

Christianity Today editor and author Skye Jethani  hit me where I needed to be struck in With .  I had wished that Jethani had used a lot more Scripture, but he didn't write it for me--it's for a broad audience, I believe. In that broad audience he spoke to me and I suspect will to others.

I have spent much time in Scripture in 2011--the whole Bible again in a year, and this time typing up my highlights and meditating on them. Next year? I have known for some time that my prayer and meditation needs more attention. Because I am UNDER God? No. Because as Jethani points out God desires to be WITH me and I desire to be WITH Him. Orthodoxy and orthopraxy needs Life WITH God, meditating, contemplating, communing and treasuring the LORD.

I come to You not to feel good
or to get certain prayers answered,
but because You want to be with me.
I treasure You, LORD, and want to be found in You--
not because of any worthiness of my own--
but because of Jesus' worth and His wanting communion with me.
Forgive me for taking pride in religiosity
like "correct theology" and knowing creeds, 
when you didn't want that preoccupation on my part.
Forgive me for not thanking You for Your provisions.
Forgive me for not trusting You.
Take away all that distracts me from You during my day
and give me the discipline of practicing your presence.
Help me pray without ceasing. Amen.


  1. I've been chewing and chewing on the premise of this book and sifting through Scriptures to see if I could back up the authors premise. I did find a scripture that says God 'with' us. Do you think it's the same as what the author is saying.. God wants to be 'with' us? Or is it saying that God came to earth as a man and was 'with' us. Am I splitting hairs? Fun topic to think about.

    Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

    Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.

  2. Hi Carol--this is an old post I see, but I felt a definite 'aha' when I read 'with God'


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