Before this book, I had never read any material by Jerry Bridges. Now I can't believe what I have been missing for so long! His simplistic yet thought-provoking style of writing is extremely captivating, causing one to go into depression as the end of the book approaches. Bridges takes the time in this book to recognize the grace bestowed upon us by God, and shows the reader how to balance the gift of grace and the duties and disciplines of a child of God. To better word it, I'll quote the subtitle of this wonderful material, "God's Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness."
Bridges begins the book by quickly dismissing the popular yet mistaken notion that God's pleasure in us is dependent on our performance. He affirms that God's grace is unmerited, outside of Christ, and inside as well. After giving examples to support his reasoning, Bridges moves on to give some disciplines that Christians should take part in, only under the grace of God. His also dismisses the belief that after conversion, the gospel is no longer of importance. Not to give anything away, Bridges shines a beautifully illuminating light of the importance of the gospel in the Christian life and urges the reader to preach it to themselves everyday.
Reminding us that though we have died to sin, Bridges notes that we are still susceptible to it's relentless influence. We are, as he says, no longer under it's dominion but still stricken with it's presence. Upon listing the disciplines he defines in this book, he first encourages the reader that through all self-discipline and God's discipline on us, all is covered under His grace. It is all given as a pursuit of holiness, to conform to the likeness of God's Son. The disciplines Bridges defines are in no way exhaustive, but rather gives readers an idea of where to start in such a pursuit. Bridges gives a respectable amount of Scriptural references to support every discipline and I personally believe that every one defined will help in our conformity to the holiness of Christ.
Bridges says that, "...though sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit in us, it does involve our wholehearted response in obedience and the regular use of the spiritual disciplines that are instruments in sanctification." We are called to a life of obedience and conformity to Jesus Christ our Lord. While convicting at many times, this book has been one of the best to challenge and equip me to pursue God by pursuing with vehemence the holiness that He requires in His children and I know it can do the same for any Christian of any age who desires to pursue the same goal.