Jesus In Me: Experiencing The Holy Spirit As A Constant Companion
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Multnomah/Waterbrook Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]
I liked this book both more and less than I thought it would. As a book about Jesus in us, I like the book a lot less than I thought given the book’s title, but given the heavy Trinitarian focus of much of the first chapter and the author’s emotional focus on the deaths of her late father and husband and her own fears about her inadequacy as a public figure in a family of public mainstream Christians, this book is far better than it should be given my antipathy to Trinitarian views as well as the author’s obvious lack of knowledge of what proper Christian practice would be when it comes to holy days and the doctrine of the family of God. How you appreciate this book will depend in large part on whether you find it moving that the author would write so much about her family relationships or whether you find the author’s conflation of what it means for Jesus Christ to live in us and her doctrines relating to the subject of the Holy Spirit more convincing than I do.
This particular book is a bit more than 250 pages when one includes its appendices, and it is divided into 7 parts and 27 short chapters. The author begins with a discussion on the experience of the Holy Spirit as a constant companion, and then moves into seven chapters that discuss how the reader can love the Holy Spirit as a “person” (I), namely as our helper (1), comforter (2), advocate (3), intercessor (4), counselor (5), strengthener (6), and standby (7), where it takes on many of the functions that belong to Christ Himself. After that there are three chapters that discuss the enjoyment of the presence of the Holy Spirit (II), in eternity (8), history (9), and humanity (10). Then the author discusses how to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit (III) to transform (11), to transform us (12), and to transform others (13). After this there is a discussion of the various purposes of the Holy Spirit (IV), namely to quicken (14), guide (15), ignite (16), shape (17), and equip (18) us. There are then two chapters that discuss why we should live by the precepts of the Holy Spirit (V) because they are true (19) and trustworthy (20). After that comes three chapters on the purity of the Holy Spirit (VI) as it is exemplified in Jesus (21), and beautified (22) and magnified (23) in us. The seventh part of the book then discusses in how we can trust the providence of the Holy Spirit in various ways, including God’s promises to us (24), God’s seal (25), understanding (26), and prayers (27). The book then ends with a conclusion that shows the unwavering focus of God’s spirit as well as four appendices that discuss the whispers of the Spirit when we read the Bible (i), how to be filled and stay filled with the Spirit (ii), self-examination of personal sin (iii), and gifts of the Spirit (iv), after which there is a note of gratitude from the author and the usual end notes.
It would appear, from this somewhat biased perspective, that the author wishes to increase the regard that the reader has for the Holy Spirit by assigning it various functions that belong to both Jesus Christ (especially) as well as God the Father. Yet this book is far from the sort of detailed theological work that one would expect when engaging in this task, but is rather a book that relies heavily on the author’s stories of her own supposed conversion as well as her own family life, which means that there is both dodgy theology expressed here as well as an emotional appeal to the reader based on the author’s personal life and her struggles to deal with timidity as well as the problems that result from aging. There is certainly some insight that can be gained from this book, but the author’s general lack of firm grounding in the law and doctrines of the Bible certainly limit the insights that one can gain if one shares the perspective of the author. Be that as it may, if this book is rather limited in what it shows about the Holy Spirit, it certainly does a good job in revealing the personal core of the author, and that is something to appreciate.