Wednesday, June 15, 2016

thoughts on Jerry Bridges' 'The Blessing of Humility'

            Once you think you've got it, you’ve lost it. Of course that refers to humility. AS difficult a concept as it may be to grasp, the Lord Jesus calls us to be humble, to adopt that posture of humility. Many of Paul's letters also address the issue, and never in scripture are we called to be prideful or vain, except when Paul says it's alright to boast in Christ.  So what do we do with this concept of humility. How do we apply it in our lives? How do we become less so that Jesus can become more?
            May I make a suggestion?
            Go get a copy of The Blessing of Humility by Jerry Bridges: Walk within Your Calling (Nav Press, 2016).
            For years Jerry Bridges has inspired the Christian community with books like The Pursuit of Holiness, Trusting God, The Discipline of Grace, and one of my favorites:  Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate.  And now, his writing life has come to an end, but not before he finished The Blessing of Humility.
            This is a wonderful study of the Beatitudes (found in Matthew 5).  The introduction opens with these words:  "the character trait of humility is the second-most frequently taught trait in the New Testaments, second only to love".  Bridges adds that "all other character traits, in one way or another, are built upon love and humility." And so it's fitting that this very humble man, he practiced a life of love and humility chose to write about humility as the last book he would have the chance to write.
            Obviously the Beatitudes, the "bless-ed be's, are about much more than just humility, but Bridges shows how each group of people about whom Jesus was speaking were also called to humility. I enjoy reading and studying the Beatitudes, and have never seen them so eloquently yet simply explained.  As he starts though, he reminds his readers of 2 things. First, as Christians we are all called to the traits described in the beatitudes, and second, that this side of Paradise we're not going to get it perfect.
Each chapter can be read in a few minutes, or savored for hours. And in the various chapters, we find the answers to the question: Who are the  (poor in spirit), (those who mourn), (the meek) etc.  One of my favorites is the chapter on those who mourn. Bridges points out that this is an area where he feels inadequate. And as he explains that the mourners are those who are grieving over their own sin, I too felt the strings of inadequacy. Humility requires an awareness of our own sin, and the desire and ability to do something about it, to mourn deeply over how we have offended God by our sinfulness.
Each chapter contains AHA moments, the personal anecdotes leave no room for doubt that Bridges knows about which he writes, and the scriptural references show once again how the best way to interpret scripture is by using scripture. God's Word does not contradict itself.
At the end of the book is a chapter-by-chapter 'discussion guide' which I found useful for going even deeper into the thoughts and ideas presented in this book.
Tyndale House Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.


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