Friday, March 04, 2011

Book Review: The Pursuit of Holiness by Jeff Bridges

I love that the first chapter of this book is called “Holiness is For You,” because in today’s world the word “holiness” seems to carry a negative stench of puritanical prudery. But that is so far from the truth. To be holy is to be set apart, to be morally blameless. God is holy, and calls us to be holy as He is. It’s an interesting situation- We will never actually attain holiness, but we can (and should) pursue it. This book explains just what holiness is (and isn’t), why we’re called to holiness as Christians, and how to daily live out the battle for holiness in body, spirit, will, habits, and faith. I appreciate how he clarifies that the called to holiness is a call to walk in obedience, not victory. So often I feel like I look at my sins as ‘failure’ and try to find ways to be victorious over it, rather than what it actually is- an offense that grieves my good and loving and perfect Lord. Out of appreciation for what God has done for me, I want to live my life in accordance with His will and plan. 

I also appreciate the balanced view Bridges gives of the role of God and the role of the individual in the pursuit of holiness. Even the desire to pursue holiness is from God. No progress in holiness comes apart from Him, but yet we must individually make choices and decisions for holiness. This takes practice and it takes discipline and it takes a plan to develop habits of holiness; we must continually work against the deeply ingrained habits of sin in our lives.  I have been learning a lot about the Holy Spirit recently, and this book helped me understand the role of the Holy Spirit in conforming us to God’s will, and how the Spirit enables us to attain holiness by “revealing our sin, creating a desire for holiness, and giving us the strength to respond to Him in obedience.” I found this book to have lots of practical and Scripturally-rooted tidbits for increasingly living a life of holiness, and I pray I will be able to apply this more and more to my Christian walk.

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