None Like Him: Jen Wilkin
I read Jen Wilkin’s latest book, None Like Him, with our women’s book discussion group at Moore College. There was some initial confusion with the title as some people heard it as ‘Nun like Him’, but thankfully the book is not a calling back to the convents! Instead Wilkin seeks to take us through a list of ten attributes that belong to God alone, and tease out how it is we try to rival God in possessing these attributes that belong to Him alone.
Many of God’s attributes we are called to possess in increasing measure, such as His goodness, mercy, love and faithfulness. But Wilkin identifies 10 attributes that belong to God alone. These include his being infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent and sovereign. She expounds on each of these attributes, increasing our awe of God by dwelling on his character. Perhaps you are a bit put off by a book about God’s attributes, feeling that you are covering familiar ground. But the genius of this book is how she flips each attribute to demonstrate how in our sinfulness we seek to take them for ourselves. It was a book full of ‘ouch!’ moments for me, as she probed into how we seek to rival God, rather than reflect His glory.
The book is written in an engaging, personal and relatable manner. When she starts the book by saying ‘if you had told me five years ago that I would one day write a book for Christian women that led off with a quote from Proverbs 31, I probably would have punched you in the face’, I knew I had found a kindred spirt. She gives many examples from her life throughout the book, and has a knack for explaining deep truths in a readily understandable way. Each chapter ends with some discussion questions, so it is a great book to read in a group or with a friend.
There were many underlined passages as I read this book, but a few really resonated with me. The chapter on God’s self-sufficiency was a terrific challenge. She contrasts the fact that God is a God of no needs with the fact that humans were made, right from the pre-fall garden, to need Him. She states ‘we are not needy because of sin; we are needy by divine design. Certainly, we can need in sinful ways, and we habitually confuse needs with wants, but we were not created to be self-sufficient. Nor were we re-created in Christ to be so’. And then this gem: ‘Sanctification is the process of learning increasing dependence, not autonomy.’ Wilkin then goes on to discuss ways in which our self-sufficiency reveals itself, such as prayerlessness, forgetfulness of God’s provision, anger in trial and lack of conviction of personal sin.
Another chapter I found especially helpful was the one on God being eternal. Wilkin encourages us to trust God with our time by the way we make use of the time we are given. She suggests we let go of the past by not indulging in either sinful nostalgia or regret. We are reminded that ‘when I become discouraged about giving in once again to a past sin, the “lifter of my head” reminds me that though I am not yet who I will be, I am not who I was.’ We are then admonished to let go of the future and not fall into sinful anticipation or anxiety. Finally, we are urged to live today fully and not squander it by feeding the sins of laziness or busyness. Wilkin urges us to invest our time in what has eternal significance, by prioritizing relationships over material gain. She says that ‘This is the calling of the missionary, the magnate, and the mother of small children: spend your time to impact people for eternity.’
The last chapter on God being sovereign was particularly a rebuke to me. Wilkin gently probes into how we can subscribe to the myth of our own sovereignty. She challenges us to consider how we sinfully strive for control in various areas of our life such as our bodies, possessions, relationships and circumstances. I felt called again to relinquish my need for control, and with eyes refreshed by considering who God is, humble myself before Him.
Wilkin concludes the book with a reflection on Psalm 139 and an exposition of it that helps us see how it addresses ‘our primary problem as Christian women’ which is ‘not that we lack self-worth, not that we lack a sense of significance. It’s that we lack awe.’ I highly recommend this book if you’d like to grow in your awe of our great God and in your ability to rejoice in the limits he has graciously created in us.
Writer | Jocelyn is married to Ed, who lectures in Doctrine and Church History at Moore College. They have five children aged between 11 and 1 and enjoy church together at St Peters, Cooks River. Her children think her hobbies include laundry, finding lost shoes and making multiple versions of the same dinner.