Knowing and enjoying God is humanity’s highest aim. It is what Jesus is talking about when he says, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” It is also the underlying call behind the warning, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?” Martyn Lloyd Jones once said, “It is the greatest campaign known to man.” The problem is, we are often presented with misguided information on how we should do this. From drawing circles to walking prayer labyrinths, it seems we are seldom satisfied with the ordinary means of grace our good and gracious King has provided.
This tendency to get off track in seeking God is why I am thankful for the book, Knowing and Enjoying God by Tim Challies and Jules Koblun. They have provided us with clear signposts showing us the road that often gets lost in the overgrowth of ideas. They have also done it in a unique way. Jules has provided every page spread with an artistically designed quote by a Christian author. Tim has collected these quotes over time, and he speaks to their truths on the remaining page. Each page can stand alone and be read as a daily devotion, but unlike most devotions, the flow of thought continues from page to page. It is a book you can sit and read straight through if you choose.
I had the privilege of asking Tim why he felt it was important to write about this topic at this time. He answered,
I felt it was important to write about the means of grace because, though they are essential to the Christian life and faith, they are too often overlooked or even disparaged. Before I wrote about much else, I wanted to be sure I was writing about the very basics—relating to God and enjoying the friendship we share with him. If we understand the means of grace and take full advantage of them, the doors are opened to a deep, full, and satisfying relationship with God himself.
One of the things I appreciate most about the book is that Tim is not expositing Christian quotes. Every page is informed by scripture. Whether he is directly citing chapter and verse or alluding to scripture passages, this book bleeds Bible. The quotes highlight scripture, not the other way around.
This book was my first introduction to Jules Koblun, but little did I know, I had been enjoying her work on social media for some time. Jules is the owner and designer at Goodwell Studio, a creative studio in the greater Toronto area. She has been creating SquareQuote graphics for Tim’s blog since 2015.
I had the opportunity to ask her about her involvement with Tim and the book. Specifically, what is her ultimate goal in what she is doing? She said,
Tim and I have been curating these words and visuals for over five years together, with the ultimate aim of creating short and compelling statements of truth that stand out in contrast amongst the very noisy world of social media. My aim as a visual designer is to pair the type treatment and the photos to create an emotional response that resonates with the reader and moves them to take some form of action in their own lives. Personally, I have found these quotes often very encouraging to my life as I work on them week after week.
I am not entirely sure how to categorize this book, but in this case, that is a strength, not a weakness. Is it a daily devotional? Is it a book that is difficult to put down once you start reading? Is it a book that looks great on the coffee table? Is it a gift book that should be given away on special occasions? The answer to all these questions is yes. Most books attempting to cross these genres fail to do it well, and from my experience, most books that even hint of being a gift book usually lack substance. This book is a five-star book, no matter what category you want it to be.
I do not think I can give any higher praise to a book that deals with the means of grace than to say, it perfectly follows John the Baptist’s example. It points away from itself to scripture and the great God we serve. It accomplishes its goal so well in pointing to scripture, prayer, and the church, that on several occasions, it encouraged me to put it down and pick up my Bible.