We are living in a culture that is rapidly changing. People today often find their identity in their work. They are so consumed with what they are doing at their jobs, hobbies, or various other endeavors that they fail to see how these things are shaping their lives. In a new book You Are What You Love, Dr. James K.A. Smith seeks to help readers understand who we are, what we worship, and how all of that shapes our lives. While this is not the first attempt by this particular author to write on this topic, this is in my estimation one of his best books.
We are living in a culture that is heavily influenced by Greek philosophy. Our desires in this culture are taught to be feed immediately. One can drive through a fast food place and get food instead of making it at home. You can drive through a coffee shop on your way to work. You can drop in and get a Redbox movie, or even better yet watch one on Netflix right from your couch. You can also DVR all your favorite TV shows and sports events and watch them later.
Instead of viewing people as created in the image of God and worthy of dignity, and respect, our culture teaches people to view others as objects of pleasure. Even in the church, we are taught that discipleship is mostly about knowing more information so we stuff our heads with all the right knowledge and books by people we trust in order to help us grow in our knowledge.
In this book, Dr. Smith points us to a better way. He takes us to the heart of discipleship where yes, we need to know the right information in order to live godly lives, but he helps us see that the Christian life is more than these things. He helps us to see underneath the surface where what we value shapes our lives. He helps us understand that who and what we worship fundamentally helps shape our identity, value, and worth.
In his latest book, Dr. Smith considers who you are, what you love, the place of liturgies in our lives, guarding our hearts, teaching your children well, and vocational liturgies.
The best and most convicting part of the book is chapter five, the liturgies of the home. Here he helps his readers understand that the home is not insignificant. Eating dinner with your spouse men every night is not insignificant. Praying with your wives, men is not insignificant. Spending time talking about the things of the Lord during family worship is vital to a healthy Christian family life. There are a lot of things I truly appreciated about this book and it’s far too much to get into in this review.
Whether you are wondering about the power of habit or wanting to learn more about discipleship, Dr. Smith’s You Are What You Love is truly a wonderful book.
Reading this book will help you understand that the Christian life is not primarily a life of learning information. Instead, we’re told in James 1:22 to be doers not only hearers of God’s Word. We can only do this as our habits are being changed. God has taken our hearts of stone and replaced it with a new heart, with new desires, and new affections for Jesus. Reading this book will help you learn to train your new desires in your home, work, and ministry life.
You Are What You Love is a needed book for our times. We desperately need help to train our new desires and affections under the Lordship of Christ. I highly recommend this book and believe reading it will help Christians wherever they are at in their walk with God to walk more consistently towards the face of Christ.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to his wife, Sarah. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021), The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022), and Contentment: The Journey of a Lifetime (Theology for Life, 2024). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.