Every once in a while you come across a book that succinctly identifies a truth about your inner spiritual life that you had not quite grasped previously. Even better, is when a book gets your attention that way and then proposes a new way of thinking, or relating, that provides a new healthier paradigm.
“With: Reimagining the way you relate to God”, by Skye Jethani is such a book that I have just finished and would like to share with the Corpath membership.
Skye begins by outlining four common ways that we relate to God that are either consciously or subconsciously held:
- LIFE FROM GOD – people in this category want God’s blessings and gifts, but they are not particularly interested in God Himself.
- LIFE OVER GOD – the position loses the mystery and wonder of the world as God is functionally abandoned in favour of proven formulas and controllable outcomes. Deism.
- LIFE FOR GOD – this is the most celebrated of religious postures. The most significant life, it teaches, is the one expended accomplishing great things for God’s service. You feel God will value you more as you do more FOR Him.
- LIFE UNDER GOD – this posture sees God in simple cause and effect terms – we obey His commands and He blesses our lives, our families, our nation. Our primary role is to determine what he approves and disapproves, then to work vigilantly to remain within those boundaries.
Once we recognize these four postures – it helps us to make sense of a lot of the work of the local church. Much activity is spent trying to move people from one way of relating to another. The irreligious person who lives OVER God is urged to care more about God’s values and commands and to begin living UNDER his rule. Some churches have as their mission to develop “Fully Devoted Followers of Christ” The movement here is to transition from simply living FROM God and to start living FOR Him.
But what if all of these ways miss the mark in subtly different ways? What if God does not want us to live FROM Him, or OVER Him, or FOR Him, or UNDER Him? What if He just desires that we live WITH Him in a primary relationship that then manifests itself in some of the service perspectives mentioned above as a BYPRODUCT, rather than the goal?
The book “WITH” describes this as the preferred scriptural model of our relationship with God. God simply desires that we commune WITH Him day by day. He values us and created us to have fellowship with Himself. Everything else is secondary.
1. Which of the four perspectives above did you find yourself relating to?
2. What would be the effect of focusing upon Living WITH God have on your life, your business?
John Wiseman – www.corpath.ca