Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Book Review: None Like Him by Jen Wilkin

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BOOK review
Started on: 18 December 2019
Finished on: 26 December 2019

Title: None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing)
Author: Jen Wilkin
Publisher: Crossway Books
Pages: 163 pages
Year of Publication: 2016
Price: Rp 155,624 (https://www.bookdepository.com/)

Rating: 5/5

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"We humans must confess, 'I am because he is.' Only God can say, 'I AM WHO I AM'."
Human beings were created to reflect the image of God—but only to a limited extend. Even though we are able to share some important attributes with God (love, mercy, compassion, etc.), God has other qualities that we are not able to possess: such as unlimited power, knowledge, and authority. In this book, Jen Wilkin guides us on a journey to discover ten ways God is different from us. In the process, she highlights the joy of seeing our limited selves in relation to a limitless God, and how such a realization frees us from striving to be more than we were created to be.

"When we fear God rightly, we recognize him for who he truly is: a God of no limits, and therefore, utterly unlike anyone or anything we know."
"Life is too short and too precious to spend fearing the wrong things in the wrong ways. I propose we learn holy fear for a God like no other"
I've been a huge fan of Jen Wilkin's writing ever since I read her book, In His Image. After reading that book, I decided to buy None Like Him—which is an older book of hers, because I really enjoyed her writing. To be honest, it has been sitting on my bookshelves for quite sometime since I purchased it 😅. Until it's the end of the year and I'm contemplating on what to read as my last book in 2019. I finally pick this book up because it's relatively short and I'm sure I would love it. And this book definitely exceeds my expectation! Just like when I read In His Image, Jen Wilkin shared a lot of profound truths and made me rethink about my beliefs and faith. The opening chapter captured me right away when she discussed about the true definition of 'fear of the Lord'. Throughout the years, a lot of people convinced me that we do not need to fear God because our God is loving and kind. Some people translated the 'fear of the Lord' as not wanting to grieve God. However, Jen Wilkin refined my understanding by bringing up some Bible verses to clarify the true meaning of 'fear of the Lord'. She pondered upon Proverbs 9:10, that says "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom," and finds its' true meaning in Hebrews 12:18-29: worshipful reverence and awe, not cowering dread, define a right fear of the Lord. This might not be new to some people, but for me, it refined my perspective about God.
"When we fear the Lord rightly, we do so not as those who are terrified of him. Christ, our Mediator, assures us that we may approach the throne of God with confidence. We do not tremble as the demons do; they rightly fear the wrath of God. Rather, we tremble as those who understand that God's wrath toward us is satisfied at the cross. When we fear God rightly, we recognize him for who he truly is: a God of no limits, and therefore, utterly unlike anyone or anything we know. This is the start of becoming wise."
"My conception of God was that he was approachable and accessible, the God that the Lord's Prayer endearingly refers to as "Our Father." And he is that. He is mercifully and gloriously that Father. But what the fear of the Lord acknowledges is that he is not only that. He is also "in heaven," with a name that is hallowed above all others. He is both a God who is near to us and a God who transcends. The fear of the Lord comprehends the fact that the Father we are taught to call "ours" is also the Lord of the universe, enthroned between the cherubim, doing as he pleases among the nations."
This book is divided into 10 chapters, each one focusing on God's divine character and why we don't need to strive to be that way. I learned a lot through all these chapters (and I want to write down every single passage that I love from this book) but in this review I'm going to share just a few that are the most memorable for me personally.The first one that I'd like to discuss is the fourth chapter, titled Self-Sufficient: The God of Infinite Provision. This chapter changes yet another belief of mine that came from different kinds of teaching. I was taught to believe that God created humans out of a need for love or companionship; but this chapter totally changed my perspective on that. Jen Wilkin emphasized that God is whole already, wholly loving and wholly loved within the perfect, eternal companionship of the Trinity. So God didn't speak us into being for love or companionship; He created us gladly and he loves us infinitely—but he does not need us. It took me a while to process that part of this book; but it is such a profound truth and it triggers in me this awe and reverence towards God even more. Some of us strive for self-sufficiency when we stopped relying on God and others. We deny our need for God through prayerlessness, anger in trial, and lack of conviction of our personal sin. The truth is, our human needs are real and we can never be self-sufficient like God. That's why we also need a community of believers, have accountability partners, be humble and willing to ask for help.

The second one that I'd like to share is the chapter called Eternal: The God of Infinite Days. It's always difficult to me to fathom that God is in the past, present, and future—all at once. I guess it's God's attribute that he is incomprehensible 😂. In this chapter, Jen Wilkin gives a perfect illustration about learning to measure time. A teacher told a class of five-year-old that today is Monday, yesterday was Sunday, and tomorrow is Tuesday. The teacher's difficulty began the next day, when the teacher said that today is Tuesday, yesterday was Monday. All the children are confused because the teacher told them that today is Monday. Of course we know that the teacher's statements were perfectly true, but the five-year-olds have not grasp the concept of yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The problem was not with the message, the problem was with the limited ability of the hearer to understand it. Jen Wilkin stated that we are like these five-year-olds. The rest of this chapter encouraged us to let go of the past (not dwelling in our past mistakes or hurts), let go of the future (having sinful anticipation or anxiety when we constantly covet the next stage of live), and live today fully (being fully present, tackling laziness or busyness). This was another great chapter that serves as an important reminder for myself to fully live in the present, and remind ourselves: "Tomorrow, if the Lord wills," because we never know what the future holds—only God does. And living this day well also means prioritizing relationships over material gain; investing our time on things that impact other people for eternity ❤️
"We read the promise that God makes everything beautiful in its time, and we look at the unresolved sorrows and hurts of our lives and the lives of others. And we begin to worry that the Bible cannot be trusted. We forget that we are receiving instruction from One whose perspective is not incrementally greater than ours, but infinitely greater. On a spiritual-insight scale from zero to God, we would be pathologically prideful to rate ourselves at kindergarten level. We cannot expect to understand our own history or collective human history this side of glory, but we can trust our yesterday, today, and tomorrow to the One who was, and is, and is to come."
"The fact that he is witness to our every foible and sin, public and private, should inspire us to vigilance. It should elicit from us confession and repentance. The fact that he witnesses our invisible thoughts before they turn to actions and our words before they are fully formed on our tongues should cause us to think and speak with care. The fact that he sees all, yet, against all expectation, stands ready to forgive should awaken a gratitude of the deepest kind, a desire to be the same person in public that we are behind closed doors—a person who thinks, acts, and speaks as one who fears the Lord. A person who understands that the limitless presence of God leaves no allowance for a life of practical atheism—professing that an omnipresent God exists and then living as if he does not."
There are still a lot that I want to share in this review but it's been long enough 😂. My other favorite chapters include God's Omnipresence, Omniscience, and Sovereignty. God's sovereignty is another topic that might be difficult to comprehend sometimes. Through this book, I am assured that God controls all things and he can ultimately work all things for our goodeven the things that others mean for evil. The questions that I hear the most are about the paradox of God's sovereignty against man's free will. How they can both coexist is a mystery, but one thing for sure, God is sovereign and we are not. And most importantly, Jen Wilkin discussed about Psalm 139 and how we like to use it to increase our self-worth. However, the subject of Psalm 139 is not us, it is God. This psalm inspire awe in us, so that we're able to have the right fear of the Lord.
"He is immeasurable—infinite.
He endures—immutable.
Omniscient, eternal, incomprehensible, omnipresent, self-sufficient, self-existent, omnipotent, sovereign, infinite, immutable. No, Psalm 139 is not a psalm about me, fearfully and wonderfully made. It is a psalm about my Maker, fearful and wonderful.
It is a psalm intended to inspire awe.
"Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made;
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry;
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky."
None Like Him has definitely become a book very dear to my heart because of what it teaches me. Even though this book is fairly short, it is thought-provoking and full of teaching that are based on the Bible. It is a book that I would want to reread in the future just to remind myself again of the greatness and majesty of my God. I absolutely love Jen Wilkin's writing! And at the end of each chapter, she includes some Bible verses for us to meditate on, and some questions for reflection. It's great to immediately reflect on our perspective now and what do we want to change after we learn the truth about God. This was a perfect book for me to end the year 2019. Will definitely read anything written by Jen Wilkin in the future 🥰
"How should the knowledge that God is ______ change the way I live?" What measurable change should occur as a result of meditating on God's immeasurable attributes, as described in the Bible?"

 
by.stefaniesugia♥ .
 

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