Saturday, February 5, 2011

Run the Race Well

Over the past year and a half, I've read several of Jerry Bridges' books.  This morning I finished reading The Pursuit of Holiness.

Sometimes there are books that you know you need to read though they aren't easy for you.  That was the case for this book and me.  Every time I read a chapter I felt encouraged and challenged.  I would put off reading it.  My lack of discipline I suppose.  When I find myself needing to read a book, yet struggling to do so I set a goal of reading a chapter a day.  Within a few days I've made my way through the book.

Jerry Bridges books are always challenging and encouraging to me.  In this book, tackles the question of how we pursue holiness by living an obedient life.  He talks about the role of discipline in that pursuit and why we must pursue God and living a holy life.  He clearly says at the beginning that holiness begins with God, not with ourselves.  That is one thing I most appreciate about Bridges' books.  He is always aware that though we are responsible for what we do--God has given us a will--there is an intertwining with the Holy Spirit.  We are not sanctified by our own efforts.  I can best explain this by mentioning the illustration that Bridges begins with in his book of the farmer.  The farmer sows the seed and cares for it, but ultimately depends on God as to whether the seeds grow.  If he doesn't sow the seed nothing with grow.  But, it is also God who has given him the strength to plant the seed.  So, it is with our pursuit of holiness.

Bridges defines holiness as "conformity to the character of God." p. 22  We pursue this through a life of discipline and seeking God.  We are to write His Word on our hearts, care for our bodies, resist temptation, and as we live a joyful life in fellowship with the Lord.

If you are looking for a good Bible study that will encourage you in your walk with the Lord and you have been a believer for a long time or if you have recently come to know the Lord, Bridges has a wonderful way of helping one understand what it means to walk with the Lord.  NavPress has recently published this book as a combination book/Bible study with wide margins that you can write in.  It's a great deal!  I'm so glad they are publishing several of Bridges' books in this new format.

Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this book for review.

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