How Do You Relate to God? The 4 Postures


Reading is one of the ways I draw close to God. It’s been said that writers are readers, so one of the questions I always ask people who tell me they want to write a book is this, “Do you like to read?” Today, I want to share a book worth reading in the hope that it will help you draw close to God. I hope it will inspire you to both read and write a bit more…

One of the books I’ve been reading the past few weeks, which has greatly enhanced my understanding of how I relate to God, is With: Reimagining the Way You Relate to God by Skye Jethani. In it, Skye outlines four postures many people assume in how they relate to God to better manage fear and control in their lives. Instead of simply seeking deeper communion living with God, I found parts of myself living from each of these 4 postures. Maybe you can relate to these…

Without realizing it, many people relate to God in one of these four postures in the attempt to manage fear and control in their lives. Each one of these postures lacks the offer of true life in Christ, resulting in an unsatisfying Christian experience.

Life Under God

“Am I a sinner — a despicable being, living under the constant threat of God’s wrath and punishment, who must appease his will through strict obedience to moral and ritual commands?”

A life under God falls prey to legalism, behavior modification, and religious rule-keeping that misses the heart and the daily invitation to life in Christ… with Christ.

Life Over God

“Am I a manager — an autonomous being who has been given a divine manual for operating my life and world, and whose fate will ultimately rest upon how well I implement God’s principles and instructions?”

A life over God seeks tips-n-tricks, biblical principles and self-help formulas instead of an actual real relationship with the living God.

Life From God

“Am I a consumer — a discontent being comprised of unmet desires and longings who demands all things, people, and even God to orbit around me and fulfill my expectations?”

A life from God desires God’s blessings, gifts and favor, but has no real interest in authentic intimacy with God.

Life For God

“Am I a servant — a worker created to fulfill a great mission whose sense of value is inexorably linked to what I am able to accomplish and the magnitude of my impact on the world?”

A life for God is more focused on the mission of God than friendship with the son of God, Jesus Christ. Like alcoholism, a life for God becomes attached to “missionalism” (Gordon MacDonald).

Instead, a life with God simply seeks loving communion with the Father, Son & Holy Spirit as the Trinity is a relationship characterized by love.

A life with God is one of faith, hope and love.

Questions: Which of these four postures do you relate to the most? How is a life with God more appealing than these other four postures?

I’d love your comments and feedback.

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  • Waitsel Smith

    I was wondering if you were going to mention “Life with God,” which is the only thing that makes sense, considering that He is our Father and we are His children. I think you should have made that one of your subheadings and called it “The Five Postures.” Thanks!

    • Joey O’Connor

      A good distinction Waitsel, which Jethani makes in his book. He focuses on the 4 postures as the ways most people relate to God and my guess here, is that he didn’t want to lump “life with God” in as another posture. He does state that people who live from one of the four postures (or several of them), all lack a vision of living with God.

      “Without being given a higher and more beautiful vision, they settled for a less satisfying one.” Skye Jethani