Devotees of Jerry Bridges' well-known books The Pursuit of Holiness and The Practice of Godliness will be familiar with his encouraging words to modern day disciples of Jesus. I devoured these books when I first became a Christian, finding them essential tools as I began walking with Jesus. I thought this would, therefore, be an `easy read'.
Far from it. The style is easily accessible but the content is so thought-provoking that it is impossible to skim quickly through this lovely book. Bridges first takes the reader through the implications of taking on God's character and becoming devoted to God. Gaining an understanding of this alone could be years of Bible study, but Bridges gives six principles for us to consider. One particularly useful reminder was that our conduct develops our character just as our character informs our conduct: what we are and what we do are intrinsic to each other. This understanding is essential to gaining an appreciation of the gifts of the Spirit. It is only then that the reader can begin to study, with a humble heart, what it means to develop the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Each chapter ends with thought-provoking questions for practice and discussion - ideal for a small group.
I am using this lovely little book with a group of friends who meet regularly for breakfast. Already, they are telling me how the topics we discussed have cropped up in their lives. And how helpful the discussions, based on The Fruitful Life, have been as they endeavour to `be Jesus' in their workplaces. I imagine this is exactly what Jerry Bridges desires: that we can be encouraged to live more fruitful lives.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."