Jerry Bridges

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The Greatest Heartbeak

Posted by on 12 Jul 2014 | Tagged as: God's Love, Jerry Bridges, John Owen

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Rom. 5:5 NLT

What is the greatest act that I can do to break the heart of God? Burn my Bible? Fraternize with the New Atheists? Betray my church and ridicule them to the community? Take a road trip to every dive and house of ill-repute in the South? No, the greatest heartbreak I can cause my Lord is to refuse to believe that he loves me. After the events of the cross and resurrection if I still deny that Christ’s loves me, what more can God do to prove his love?

The greatest sorrow and burden you can lay on the Father, the greatest unkindness you can do to him is not to believe that he loves you.

John Owen quoted in Jerry Bridges (2006-05-05), The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness (p. 127). NAVPress – A. Kindle Edition.

 

 

A Prisoner to My Feelings

Posted by on 30 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: Faith, Jerry Bridges

Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again–my Savior and my God!

Psalm 43:5 NLT

“Luke, trust your feelings!” says the omnipresent Obi-Wan Kenobi in the ever popular movie, Star Wars. Though Obi-Wan was referring to the Force, the ubiquitous presence that supposedly holds all things together, many have interpreted Obi-Wan’s admonition to live by their feelings as wise and dependable advice.

However, our feelings can be very deceptive, our feelings will tell us that God has forgotten us and abandoned us in the hour of our greatest need. However at the very moment when we feel furtherest from the Lord, Scripture says he is closest. “Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand” (Isa. 41:10 NLT).

Our feelings do not dictate God’s nearness, he promises that no way ever will he leave us or forsake us (Heb. 13:5). We need to be believers of God’s promises not prisoners to our feelings.

For many years in my own pilgrimage of seeking to come to a place of trusting God at all times, I am still far from the end of the journey, I was a prisoner to my feelings. I mistakenly thought I could not trust God unless I felt like trusting Him (which I almost never did in times of adversity). Now I am learning that trusting God is first of all a matter of the will and is not dependent on my feelings. I choose to trust God, and my feelings eventually follow.

Jerry Bridges, Trusting God: Even When Life Hurts (p. 211), Kindle Edition.

The Power of Grace

Posted by on 09 May 2012 | Tagged as: God's Grace, Jerry Bridges

He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

Titus 2:14 NLT

Grace is not an ethereal force that blesses us with benefits when we perform random acts of kindness. Grace is not an excuse for passivity–God does it all and I do nothing. Grace is not a sort of generalized blessing when I have done what I can, then God comes through for me.

Grace is Jesus being the desire, ability, and power in us to respond to every life situation according to the will of God. [DeVern Fromke, Life’s Ultimate Privilege (Cloverdale, Ind.: Sure Foundation, 1986), 118.] Jesus is our desire for he works in us a hunger for holiness. Jesus is our ability for he enables us to make godly decisions and choices. Jesus is our power for he strengthens us to overcome the world and its influence, the flesh and its passions, and sin and its inbred bondages. Grace is all of him in all of us to do his will all the time.

True grace always produces vigilance rather than complacency; it always produces perseverance rather than indolence.

Jerry Bridges

Heartbeat of a Godly Person

Posted by on 18 Apr 2012 | Tagged as: Abiding in Christ, Jerry Bridges

O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.

Psalm 63:1

The Christian life is a paradox. We know God, yet we yearn to experience more of his love, more of his mercy, and more of his holiness. We have experienced God, yet we hunger for deeper and deeper encounters with his Holy Spirit. We have tasted of the goodness of God, yet we desperately desire to penetrate deeper into Jesus, his tenderness, and compassion. This paradox is the heartbeat of a godly man or woman, our soul is satisfied in Christ, yet never complacent. The believer’s heart and spirit is pursuing, desiring and thirsting for more and more of Jesus. The godly man or woman never stops yearning, hungering, and seeking after God.

This is the heartbeat of the godly person. As he contemplates God in the awesomeness of His infinite majesty, power, and holiness, and then as he dwells upon the riches of His mercy and grace poured out at Calvary, his heart is captivated by this One who could love him so. He is satisfied with God alone, but he is never satisfied with his present experience of God. He always yearns for more.

Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day-by-Day (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 41.

What Does the N.T. Mean by “Flesh”?

Posted by on 09 Nov 2011 | Tagged as: Jerry Bridges, Sin

For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Rom. 8:7-8

Recently, my wife talked with a young man who claimed to free from all sin. Obviously, this young man failed to read the Letter of First John, “”If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1:8). Also, he does not read the Apostle Paul correctly: Paul declares in both Romans and Galatians that our flesh is still with us until the resurrection from the dead.

Our fleshly, sinful nature takes our basic needs and turns them into obsessions (Rom. 8:1-8). Our flesh, that is our fallenness, yearns to govern us and divert us from intimacy with God. Our flesh cries out for attention and desires to rule us and others.

Our sinful nature is an idolatrous over-desire that arises from deep within our being: a heart that is afraid of disappointment, doubts that God will be faithful, worries about unmet needs, and angered over frustrated goals. The flesh takes elementary human desires and turns them into addictions, cravings, and fixations.

Discipline is not the favorite word of our flesh (Prov. 23:12). Discipline says to the flesh, “No more control.” Discipline looks to the Holy Spirit to work in us what Christ did for us on the Cross. The Holy Spirit imparts sanctifying grace to enable us to say, “no,” to worldly passions and unrighteous desires (Titus 2:11-14).

Freedom from our sin nature is the reward of disciplined trust in the Holy Spirit. We depend on his grace to enable us to make godly choices and there we find release from the flesh’s bondage. The Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome the flesh’s grip: he puts to death its passions and desires (Gal. 5:16-21).

Our flesh is always searching out opportunities to gratify itself according to the particular sinful desires each of us has.

Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day-by-Day (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 273.

 

Bible-Based Convictions

Posted by on 29 Jul 2011 | Tagged as: Bible, Jerry Bridges

Beliefs vs. Convictions 

Teach me, O Lord, the way of your statutes; and I will keep it to the end.

Psalm 119:33

Are our Christian beliefs just interesting advice, or good counsel, or pleasant thoughts? Or, are our Christian beliefs true convictions that we will not violate, even if, our commitment to those truths cost us precious time, important relationships, and real money?

To pursue holiness, one of the disciplines we must become skilled in is the development of Bible-based convictions. A conviction is a determinative belief: something you believe so strongly that it affects the way you live. Someone has observed that a belief is what you hold, but a conviction is what holds you.

Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day by Day: Transformational Thoughts for Your Spiritual Journey Devotional (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994), 154.

What Motivates You?

Posted by on 22 Jun 2011 | Tagged as: Jerry Bridges, Sanctification

Pleasing Him

So whether we are here in this body or away from this body, our goal is to please him.

2 Cor. 5:9

True motivation: our one desire is God, our one hunger is to love him, and our one reason for living is to please him.

We believers do need to be challenged to a life of committed discipleship, but that challenge needs to be based on the gospel, not on duty or guilt. Duty or guilt may motivate us for awhile, but only a sense of Christ’s love for us will motivate us for a lifetime.

Jerry Bridges, The Discipline of Grace: God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994), 24-25.

HT: Of First Importance

 

An Affront to God

Posted by on 21 May 2011 | Tagged as: Jerry Bridges, Sin

 

Sin: It Was Not Meant To Be

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

James 4:17 NLT

Every sin of yours and mine is an affront to God.

Our sin is an assault on God’s authority: We don’t want to do what God says.

Our sin is an assault on God’s character: We don’t want to be like God.

Our sin is an assault on God’s Word: We don’t believe that what God says is true.

Our sin is an assault on God’s love: We don’t trust that God has our best interest at heart.

What is our essential problem? Is it our parents, our economic backgrounds, our upbringing, our circumstances, our jobs? No, our greatest problem is us. That great trinity of me, myself and I. Our own selfishness, our own desire to be first and foremost, our own self-absorption, our self-concern, and our self-conceit. Our rebellion towards God and distaste for his Lordship over our lives.

Sin is selfishness evidenced through our willful thoughts, words, or actions. Sin involves a choice in which we consider ourselves more important than God and others. The foundation of all sin is the selfishness.

Sins of commission: We act purposefully for selfish reasons. Sins of omission: We avoid doing what is right for selfish reasons. Sins of ignorance: We choose to be ignorant of what we should or should not do for selfish reasons. Sin is turning the world upside down by living as if the world should revolve around us.

Above all, when we think the curse for violating God’s Law is too severe, it’s because we don’t understand God or the nature of sin. God is transcendent in his majesty and sovereign in his authority.

In effect we’re saying, “I don’t care what You say; I’ll do as I please.” Furthermore, God has commanded us to be holy as He is holy. Therefore, each sin is an insult to His character. It’s as if we’re telling God, “I don’t want to be like You.” Think what a rebellious affront it would be for a child to say that to his parent.

Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day-by-Day (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 123.

Performance Orientation

Posted by on 26 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: Jerry Bridges, Sanctification

Striving and Trying for God

Let me ask you this one question: Did you receive the Holy Spirit by obeying the law of Moses? Of course not! You received the Spirit because you believed the message you heard about Christ.

Gal. 3:2 NLT

Performance orientation is attempting to earn God’s acceptance and love by our trying, striving, and laboring.

We suffer great exertion and struggle tremendously in our Christian walk. We long to live by the precepts of the Christian life. On a good day, our attitude and actions suggest some degree of Christian commitment. We think by our performance that God is obligated to bless us and reward us for walking according to his standards. We think of ourselves as “good little boys and girls” and that good things always happen to good people.  On our good days, we walk in self-righteous pride, and on our bad days, we plod along in discouragement and despair.

We have reverted back to living under the Law, we think we earn the blessing of the Holy Spirit by our performance. We think we deserve God’s rejection by our failures. We become frustrated with the Christian life, the up’s and down’s, the elation and the despair.

We have forgotten grace. We have forgotten that the Christian life is a person and that Jesus’ work on the Cross performed all we would ever need to be accepted by God. We have forgotten that Christ perfectly lived the law and died in our place that we might be accepted by God. We have forgotten that the Christian life is lived by faith trusting every day that Christ’s Cross has taken all our failed performances and nailed them to a tree.

We must remember that we are not accepted before God based on our performance, but we are accepted because of Christ’s beautiful performance on the Cross. We don’t perform the Christian life to be loved by God. We perform for God because know that we are loved and accepted in Christ.

We can begin each day with the deeply encouraging realization, I’m accepted by God, not on the basis of my personal performance, but on the basis of the infinitely perfect righteousness of Jesus Christ.”

Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day-by-Day (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 6.

 

 

The Amazing Generosity of God

Posted by on 18 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: God's Grace, Jerry Bridges, Sin

Restoring Not Repaying

I will restore to you the years that othe swarming locust has eaten, the hopper, the destroyer, and the cutter, my great army, which I sent among you.

Joel 2:25

When we sin, our actions hurt God and others. They create a ripple affect of pain and disappointment. Our families grow discouraged, our friends are disheartened, and the church is not blessed. Instead of being an example of faith and obedience, we give others an excuse not to obey God’s law and Christ’s commands. Our selfishness makes us central instead of Christ. We turn the world upside down.

When we repent, God not only forgives our sin; he heals our pain. God lifts us up from the miry clay and gives us a firm place to stand (Psalm 40: 1-3). God not only releases us from the debt we have created, but he heals the damage we have inflicted on ourselves and others. When we repent, he takes the mess we have made, and uses it for our good and his glory. It always better not to sin, but if we sin and repent, God will take our disaster and develop real maturity. God goes beyond just forgiving, he generously heals, restores, and renews.

Consider the amazing generosity of God. He did not limit His promise merely to restoring the land to its former productivity. He said He’ll repay them for the years the locusts have eaten, years they themselves forfeited to the judgment of God (Joel 2:25). God could well have said, “I’ll restore your land to its former productivity, but too bad about those years you lost! They are gone forever.  That’s the price you pay for your sin. He would have been generous just to have restored them – but He went beyond that. He would cause their harvests to be so abundant they would recoup the losses from the years of famine. He said He’ll repay them, though He obviously owed them nothing.

Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day-by-Day (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2008), 67.

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