It’s great when a reviewer correctly identifies what you were trying to do in a book. Here’s the opening of the review by Jean Williams of You Can Change in September 2009’s edition of The Briefing.
Picking up Tim Chester’s You Can Change, you’d be forgiven for mistaking it for a self-help book. It has all the trappings – a title promising transformation, testimonies of change, an invitation to choose a personal “change project”, ten chapters with titles like “What would you like to change?” and questions for self-reflection. You Can Change is designed to communicate to a society obsessed with personal change, but it turns the self-help genre on its head.
That’s exactly what I was trying to do: write an anti-self-help book in the style of a self-help book. The next paragraph summarises the m,essage of the book better than I can!
It quickly becomes apparent that the only change Tim Chester is interested in is transformation into the likeness of Christ. The power for change is not inner strength or willpower, but the grace of God through the death of his Son, applied by his Spirit. The method for change is not rules and programs, but faith and repentance. The context for change is not the counsellor’s office of a solitary retreat, but the community of God’s people speaking the truth in love. The goal of change is not to find yourself, but to forget yourself in love and service. The message is not so much that you can change as that God can change you.