Is it possible to enjoy God in everyday, ordinary life? Tim Chester’s ‘Enjoying God’ is about experiencing more of the triune God and recognising his involvement in the day to day to lives of his people.
Tim starts the book with a story about two characters, Mike and Emma, and gives an insight into their Monday morning. Everything seems to unravel at the start of their week and it looks bleak. Their experience of God on a Sunday seems far removed from their experience on a Monday. However, as Tim writes each chapter, he revisits their story and looks at it again with fresh eyes. What might start off being an ordinary and somewhat difficult start to the week can actually prove to be a time of enjoying God.
The chapters explore different ways that we can experience God and find joy. From pleasure to pain, failure to gratitude, times of hardship and times of prayer, in communion and in temptation – through knowing Jesus we are able to share every aspect of life with Father, Son and Spirit because ‘all the time God is around us, behind us and before us’ (pg. 35).
What I loved about this book is the way it focuses on the Trinity – God the Father, Son and Spirit – right from the very first chapter and throughout. Chester explains how our experience of God will be ‘deepened and enriched’ as we think about how we relate to each member of the Trinity. He says that we must not think of the three Persons without recognising them as One in unity – to know one means to know all three. I found that my understanding of how God the Father, Son and Spirit relate to one another, how they relate to me and how, in turn, I respond to them brought me a fresher and truer understanding of the triune God. A quote which encapsulates one of the core principles throughout the book and has helped me is:
‘It’s important to recognise this distinction between union and communion. Our union with God is unilateral or one-sided. And, because it’s all God’s work, nothing we do can change our status with God. But God has saved us so that we might have communion with him, and this communion with God is two-way, God relates to us and in return we relate to God. So we contribute to the relationship. And therefore what we do can affect our experience of God.’ (pg. 177)
At the end of each chapter there is a call to action – a ‘putting it into practice’ section – to try and do in the week to help apply some of the principles introduced. This is followed by some questions for reflection which could work well for a group or personal study. It is not just theory – there is plenty of opportunity to explore what is discussed in real life settings.
The author brings his rich understanding of Scripture with his own personal experience, wisdom from other theologians and wonderful imagery to explain theological concepts in a very clear way. This book is beautifully written, practical and gospel-centred – I recommend it to anyone who would love to go deeper in their relationship with God and to enjoy Him each day!
Tim Chester is a pastor at Grace Church, Boroughbridge, UK; a faculty member of Crosslands Training; and is the author of over 30 books. He has a PhD in theology and was previously Research and Policy Director for Tearfund UK. He has been an adjunct lecturer in missiology and reformed spirituality. Tim is married to Helen and has two daughters.