Monday, March 28, 2016

Jerry Bridges: a gospel-centered author to read for discipleship

A gifted Christian author went home with the Lord recently. On March 6th 2016, Jerry Bridges went to be “with Christ” (Phil 1:23). In case you are not familiar with him, I wanted to introduce you to a few of his writings by tracing when I was introduced to them, and how they shaped my life over the years. 

The first book I read was The Discipline of Grace. Someone recommended this to me when I was a young Christian. It was remarkably helpful since I didn’t fully understand the true depths of grace. He has a principle in that book that I love and try to live by: 
“Your worst days are never so bad that you are beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you are beyond the need of God's grace” (p.18). 
In other words, every day we desperately cling to God’s grace. This helps us keep our focus each day on the gospel. This is the foundation for a life of discipleship. 

The second book I picked up was The Pursuit of Holiness. There was a study for college students that I was part of, and this was the book that we tackled. His basic call is for Christians to take the practice of holiness very seriously. This is probably his most popular book and I think and a good place to start if you are not familiar with his writings. Holiness is essential for discipleship growth. 

The final book of significance was Trusting God. The timing of this was fitting. I was just finishing up my undergraduate work in South Carolina. I was newly married and my wife was pregnant with our first child. At that time she was working full-time to get me through school and I was a full-time student. When our son was born, my bride had to stop working and we literally had zero income for several months until I graduated. Our small group at church studied Trusting God and it became a great theme in our life during that season. We saw God’s amazing provision as we learned to trust him. Trusting God was another essential discipleship lesson I needed to learn.  

Although I have not read them, other popular books of his are Transforming Grace and Respectable Sins. I have never been disappointed with any of his books. They are great for both personal study and small group discipleship. I thank God for Jerry Bridges and how his writings have helped so many in their Christian growth as they have for me.

*I originally wrote this for our church's monthly newsletter to honor Mr Bridges and to introduce others to his writings. Since then I have picked up Respectable Sins and in my opinion it is probably one of his best writings.