Book Review: In His Image

There are some ways in which we will never be like God. Jen Wilkin dealt with most of those in her excellent book None Like Him:10 Ways God is Different From Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) (linked to my review).

But there are ways we are supposed to be like God. We will never become deity and we’ll never exercise these in perfection, at least until heaven. But we’re supposed to grow in them now. Jen discusses ten of these in In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character.: holiness, love, goodness, justice, mercy, graciousness, faithfulness, patience, truthfulness, and wisdom.

Jesus held all these traits in perfection. We’re called “to be conformed to [His] image” (Romans 8:29).

Our inclination is to discern God’s will by asking, “What should I do?” But God’s will concerns itself primarily with who we are and only secondarily with what we do. By changing the question and asking, “Who should I be?” we see that God’s will is not concealed in his Word, but is plainly revealed.

The Bible plainly answers the question “Who should I be?” with “Be like Jesus Christ, who perfectty images God in human form.” God’s will for our lives is that we conform to the image of Christ, whose incarnation shows us humanity perfectly conformed to the image of God (pp. 20-21).

In each chapter, Jen discusses what these traits look like in God, and then explains how we can best put them to practice in our own lives. The chapters end with verses and discussion questions.

I have multiple places marked in the book. But here are a few quotes that convicted me:

If we focus on our actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self.

As with the Ten Commandments, the Great Commandment begins with the vertical relationship and moves to horizontal relationships. Unless we love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we will love ourselves and our neighbors inadequately. Right love of God is what enables right love of self and others (p. 38).

And what does right vertical relationship look like? It looks like the full deployment of our heart, soul, mind and strength—the totality of our being—in the active love of God (p. 39).

Right now, there is much that we witness or endure that is clearly not good. But under the sovereign governance of an eternally good God, we can trust that all that is not now good will ultimately be used for our good. Like Joseph we will one day, in this life or the next, look over our had pasts and acknowledge with him that what our enemies meant for evil God has used for good (Gen. 50:20) (p. 48).

Generosity is the hallmark of those who are determined to be lights in the darkness as children of their heavenly Father. It is the calling card of all who are recipients of the generous good news of salvation through Christ (p. 52).

We are familiar with the maxim that patience is a virtue, but it is a virtue rarely sought. The world’s solution to the problem of impatience is not to develop patience, but to eliminate as many situations that require it as possible (p. 110).

It is not coincidental that a lack of discernment and a neglected Bible are so often found in company (p. 144).

I wish there was a way to retain everything we read from books. Since there is not, I will have to revisit this and None Like Him again in the future. I appreciate Jen’s clear and skillful discussion of biblical concepts.

(Sharing with InstaEncouragement, Grace and Truth,
Carole’s Books You Loved, Booknificent Thursday)

13 thoughts on “Book Review: In His Image

  1. Barbara, this sounds like a deep-dive book. The idea of asking God “Who should I be?” to discern His will really struck me. I never thought about understanding God’s will through this lens before. Thank you for this thought. I’ll be contemplating it throughout the day!

  2. “If we focus on our actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self.” Such a powerful quote and a good reminder not to simply go through the motions. Thank you for this, and what a great review!

  3. This sounds good; as you know I’ve gotten a lot from the 2 Jen Wilkin Bible studies I’ve done. She finds unique insights and I really enjoy. She has a way of making familiar Scripture passages seem new.

  4. This — this summarizing that you do for your book reviews and including your favorite quotes is so helpful. Thanks for a great review. I’ve come across a similar sentiment to the quote you posted, “If we focus on our actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self.” How very true.

  5. I like the fact that the author not only writes about who we should be, she gives practical concrete examples of what that looks like in real life. I loved this quote: “If we focus on our actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self.” Wow! I will be thinking about that for a while. This book is going on my TBR list.

  6. “If we focus on our actions without addressing our hearts, we may end up merely as better behaved lovers of self.” So true. This sounds like a great book. one we could really benefit from. Thanks for the review. Loving the cover. Looking it up.

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