I LOVE this quote by John Piper- " Because you are precious to God, and he adds this gift: He will not let that preciousness become your God. Only Him."
My friends gave me a gift card to a bookstore.... I already used it... I am excited to have some time on the plane tomorrow to just read. ( I have great friends, btw.)
I also was asked to do a book review for our church 922 magazine.... I reviewed the book "Knowing God" by JI Packer. Here is what I wrote :
(although the book was so great- it was so hard to pick what to write about. I did my best to narrow it down.)
Knowing God, by JI Packer, is quite possibly one of the best books I have read in a long time. After completing the last chapter, I was tempted to start again with chapter one. I feel this is the kind of book that can be read over many times, with something new to learn each time.
Packer begins the first chapter by acknowledging the importance of theology in our walks as Christians. Although learning theology is essential, we must make sure our motives are in check. If we seek this simply to know His truth and to allow our hearts to respond and live accordingly, then we are on the right track. It cannot be a quest to just know all the answers or for self-satisfaction. It must be a desire to know Him with a desire to live for Him. It is turning our knowledge about God into knowledge of God. Packer states that knowing God is a matter of personal dealing and personal involvement. We can have all the knowledge in our head, but we must also have the Holy Spirit to help us develop the practical application of that knowledge.
Before Packer begins describing the attributes and the characteristics of God, he emphasizes how important it is to acknowledge Him as the one true God. This means that we are to follow the second commandment and have no other images before Him. Packer warns against making our own mental images in our head of who and what we think God is. We need not seek visible symbols of God but simply need to obey His Word and read His Word in order to find out what He is like. Packer states “to make an image of God is to take one’s thoughts of him from a human source, rather than from God himself; and this is precisely what is wrong with image-making” (p. 49). This reminded me how important it is to know the Word and what it says about who He is. Simply using my human mind to imagine Him into what I “ think” He is or should be would never be wise and could potentially lead me down the wrong path.
Packer then begins to describe God. First of all, Jesus was fully divine and fully human. This is mind-blowing. What a mystery! God is unchanging, majestic, wise, and His Word is true. He is spirit, He is light. He is love. His love shows His incredible goodness. His love is full of grace and mercy and brings us into a covenant relationship with Him even though we are so unworthy and undeserving. He is also a judge and wrath is one of His attributes. He does not become a fool and lose His temper as we would when we get angry but His anger is righteous and He judges with perfection. He is good. He is perfect. He is patient and He disciplines. He is also jealous. Packer explains His jealousy by stating “God’s jealousy is not a compound of frustration, envy and spite, as human jealousy so often is, but appears instead as a (literally) praiseworthy zeal to preserve something supremely precious.” (p. 171).
Packer also discusses what being a “son of God” truly means. He points out that in the Old Testament, the theme is often God’s holiness but something new is added in the New Testament. His name now becomes Father and we, as Christians, are His children. Packer believes that God does not leave us guessing about His fatherhood by making us draw analogies from our human fathers. God wants us to look to Him as the example and to also live our lives as a reflection of Jesus’ own relationship with Himself. No matter how great or bad of an earthly father we may have had, as Christians, we have now been adopted. Adopted by a loving and perfect Father, a Father with authority, affection, fellowship, and honor. Packer writes, “in adoption, God takes us into His family and fellowship-he establishes us as his children and heirs. Closeness, affection and generosity are at the heart of the relationship. To be right with God the Judge is a great thing, but to be loved and cared for by God the Father is a greater.” (p. 207)
Packer sums it up by saying that in order to know God we must know about Him, study His character through reading the Word, evaluate ourselves as fallen creatures, believe that knowing Him requires a personal relationship, which makes us His disciples, and finally, we know that we are more than conquerors through Him. He is enough. He is sufficient. He is all we need.
While reading this book, I felt overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by who God is and also overwhelmed by all I still long to know about Him. I am in awe by His love. It really is mind-bending and perfect in absolutely every way. I feel that Packer does an excellent job describing God and listing His attributes. While reading this book, I felt as though I learned a lot about who God is but it also challenged me to seek Him even more. My human mind will never fully know everything there is to know about Him- that is how GREAT of a God He is. As I continue reading the Word and asking the Holy Spirit to teach me all His great ways, I am truly confident in Psalm 16:2. I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord; I have no good apart from You.”