In His Image: 10 Ways to Reflect the Character of God

10 Ways to Reflect God’s Character

He placed one hand on the door frame, shifted his weight to one foot, and then placed the other small boot toe-down on the floor. Looking at his dad, he checked his hand position and then assumed the facial expression he deemed appropriate to the occasion, a conversation among “the guys.” My grandson’s imitation of his dad is endearing, but it is also instructional. If you want to be like someone, even if that Someone is God, you study their actions and do your best to imitate and replicate them. If you want to be like God, and if God has revealed Himself through inspired writing as One who values and embodies particular qualities, then you have your marching orders.

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character is Jen Wilkin’s affirmation that God’s character, revealed in Scripture, is the believer’s template:

“How should the knowledge that God is _________________ change the way I live?”  (21)

Who Should I Be?

A laser focus on the character and attributes of God impacts on my own character, but it also shifts my perception for decision making. When I am seeking the will of God, I have tended to ask, “What should I do?” when the better question is “Who should I be?”  Wilkin expresses the tension well and from personal experience:

“Perhaps you’ve known the frustration of hearing silence, or worse, of acting on a hunch or ‘leading’ only to find later that you apparently had not heard the Lord’s will. I know that process better than I’d like to admit, and I also know the shame that accompanies it–the sense that I’m tone-deaf to the Holy Spirit, that I’m terrible at discovering God’s will. . . .His will does not need discovering. It is in plain sight. To see it we need to start asking the question that deals with his primary concern. We need to ask, ‘Who should I be?'”

Here’s what it boils down to:

“What does it profit me to make the right choice if I’m still the wrong person? A lost person can make ‘good choices.’ But only a person indwelt by the Holy Spirit can make a good choice for the purpose of glorifying God.”

So while there is no list of words, no magical set of adjectives that can fully encompass the character and nature of God, Jen Wilkin has chosen ten attributes that assist the reader in modeling a life after the character of God.

For example, God’s holiness is his most frequently cited attribute in Scripture. What does His utter purity of character mean for the believer who claims a desire to be like Jesus? Practical holiness, according to Jerry Bridges, includes a “desire to be made holy.” This leads me to ask myself a number of razor-edged questions:

  • Am I praying about the sanctification of my kids–and myself?
  • Are my motives for right behavior results-oriented or am I seeking holiness for its own glorious sake?

Asking the Better Question

In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character has heightened my awareness of God’s attributes as a doorway to worship, and the journey actually began for me when I read Wilkin’s earlier release None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing). (Click here to read my review!) In our efforts to understand the nature of God and to reflect His character, it is true that we are invited by the God who is holy, loving, good, just, merciful, gracious, faithful, patient, truthful, and wise to enter into the embodiment of these virtues as part of our sanctification process. These attributes of God are communicable, and this is a list that the believer can grow into by walking in obedience to the commands of God through the power of the Spirit of God within.

However, God is also infinite, incomprehensible, self-existent, self-sufficient, eternal, immutable, omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent, and sovereign. These are His incommunicable attributes, which, by their very nature can be true only of God. When we “strive to become like God in any of these traits, we set ourselves up as his rival. Human beings created to bear the image of God aspire instead to become like God.”

It is always a joy to return to the truth of the Gospel which is not self-help or advice for “better living,” but rather Good News. So, what is the Good News? It is simply this: The believer’s flawed and imperfect representation of the image of God can, by grace, be transformed. As we seek, by grace, to be “conformed to the image of Christ,” we begin by asking, “who should I be?” and then enter into the life long process of discovering who God is as we look to Him for the answers our hearts desire.  


Many thanks to Crossway for providing a copy of this book to facilitate my review, which, of course, is offered freely and with honesty.

I  am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. If you should decide to purchase In His Image: 10 Ways God Calls Us to Reflect His Character, or None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That’s a Good Thing) simply click on the title (or the image) within the text, and you’ll be taken directly to Amazon. If you decide to buy, I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Thank you, as always, for reading and for your continual encouragement,

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50 thoughts on “10 Ways to Reflect God’s Character”

  1. Michele, Love this review and your wonderful graphic of 2 Corinthians 3:18, one of my favorites, indicating that we are God’s mirrors…
    And we, with our unveiled faces reflecting like mirrors the brightness of the Lord, all grow brighter and brighter as we are turned into the image that we reflect; this is the work of the Lord who is Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 JB)
    But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. (2 Corinthians 3:18 NASB)

    One translation says, beholding as in a mirror another says, reflecting like mirrors. The verb katoptrizo can be translated either reflecting or beholding…
    “with unveiled face, beholding” (RSV)
    “beholding as in a glass” (KJV)
    “reflecting like mirrors” (JB)
    “be mirrors that brightly reflect” (TLB)
    “we . . all reflect the Lord’s glory” (NIV)
    It seems the Holy Spirit intentionally selected a verb that would remind us to do both—beholding our Lord Jesus Christ so intently that we can’t help but reflect Him.

    To behold a face in a mirror is to study, to stare, to contemplate. Jesus is the source; we are the glass. Jesus is the light; we are the mirrors. Jesus sends the message; we mirror it…reflecting Who we are beholding.

    Many blessings to you ❤️

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    1. Absolutely, and yet it’s such a rigorous mindset to maintain, because we are all about measuring our worth by what we accomplish. Thanks for distilling down this review to the boots-on-the-ground assignment it extends.

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  2. Yes, yes, Michele, I love that emphasis on being rather than doing. Too often we put the cart before the horse and wonder why our endless plans don’t pan out quite like they thought.

    Appreciate this call to character this morning …

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  3. I’ve often thought about buying one of Jen’s books. I really like the pastor of her church, Matt Chandler. So I’m figuring that I’ll like her take on spiritual growth and how to pursue God more. Thanks for sharing about her book, Michele, and for all the resources that you so tirelessly offer to us. You really make a huge difference, my friend! I hope you know that!

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  4. I have both these books on my bookshelf waiting for me – I plan on getting to them soon. I loved Jen’s Women of the Word and various blog posts of hers that I have seen.

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  5. I agree with Jen’s question and that we often ask the wrong one! I have heard a pastor say once, “God created us as human beings, not human doings.” We can so easily get caught up in the doing for Him or others or even ourselves that this key question gets missed too often.

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  6. I keep hearing so many good things about both of these books. I’ll definitely need to look into reading them! I like the focus on working out who we should be rather than just on what we do.

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    1. I memorized the list of 10 from the first book, and come back to it all the time when I need to remember who God is. Now I’ve got to work on committing the second list to memory so I can remember who I am supposed to be!

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  7. These are such great questions. And the emphasis on being and not just doing is so crucial, isn’t it? I love the intro that you gave to this piece–children just automatically want to mirror those that they love! And they want to “be” like Daddy, not just do things. Oh the beauty of the child-like heart!

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      1. Hi, Michele! Yes, I have. They will dwindle down for the next couple of months. About 1 per week. Although I have a huge TBR pile 🙂 Thank you for checking out The Mimosa Blossom

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  8. Michele, I always learn a valuable lesson when I read one of your reviews. I have never thought about the distinction between the communicable and incommunicable attributes of God. We do want to be like Him, but not set ourselves up to think that we could be His rival. “Who should I be?” is a great question to ask.

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    1. When we have lots of energy and lots of plans, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking we can be self-sustaining or that we are sovereign over our situation. Our smart phones trick us into believing that we are omnipresent. I come back to Jen’s books all the time for reminders of who God is–and who I am in relation to Him.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re going to love it because it picks right up where the first book left off. I like to think of None Like Him as enhancing my worship and In His Image as spurring me on in the gritty process of sanctification.

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  9. Both of these books sound like such good, and needed, reads. We need to know God’s character so that we desire to model Him. The questions the book led you to are important and powerful ones for us all to ponder. This review was much appreciated.

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  10. “What does it profit me to make the right choice if I’m still the wrong person?” What a great quote! I look forward to reading this follow up to “In His Image.” Thanks for making us aware of good biblically sound books to help us keep growing and becoming more like Him … by His grace.

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    1. You know how much I love to share books, Donna. And I’m always pleased when something resonates with you. I know you have a lot of irons in the fire (and plates spinning, too!) so there’s not much time to read!

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  11. I really love the idea of being like Jesus rather than focusing on what we should DO. As Joanne said, we do need to know God’s character before we can be more like Him. And being the right person . . . that makes so much sense.

    Thanks for sharing these books, Michele!

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    1. Yes, we tend to focus on the minutiae of acting and planning and producing when all this flows from a heart that is either bent toward following God or bent in the wrong direction by motives that confuse us and send us down the wrong path. It all sounds simple, doesn’t it–but living it is another thing entirely!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for pointing out the difference between “what should I do” and “who should I be”? We do ask the wrong question when learning to model the character of God. These words right here —> As we seek, by grace, to be “conformed to the image of Christ,” we begin by asking, “who should I be?” and then enter into the life long process of discovering who God is as we look to Him for the answers our hearts desire —-> say it all. I pray I learn who I should be as I deepen my relationship with God.

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  13. Another excellent review, Michele. I’m going to start substituting my question of what should I do with what should I be. So basic to the good news and yet overlooked as we think we can ‘do’ spiritual growth. No wonder we can get discouraged knocking on the wrong door!

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  14. Love that book! I really gleaned a lot from her explanation of “The God of Always and Never”… basically that He is the only one who can accurately say those works because he is the only who is ALWAYS faithful and who NEVER changes!

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  15. I keep seeing Jen’s book pop up, so I’m glad to read your review here, Michele. It looks like one that I should consider reading as well. My current stack is about to be too high to reach though so I may need to wait a few more weeks before I get it. 🙂

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  16. I have seen this book around but I am happy you reviewed it. I think the part that got me is instead of asking “What should I do?” I should ask “Who should I be?”. And personally, I know I have never asked that. Definitely adding to my To Read list.

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  17. I always enjoy your book summaries. Even if I don’t get a chance to read them it’s nice to be able to remember the title when I do get a chance to pick out new reading material.

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    1. Thank you, Kara. And I’m pleased to hear your response, because I try to give readers a sense of the book’s content so they come away with something from the review–without stealing the book’s thunder in the process!

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