Help Us Love the Things We Should Love

Disciplining ourselves to do what we don’t always want to do helps us learn to love the things we should love.

– Greear, J.D.; Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary; B&H Publishing Group; Nashville, TN; Copyright 2011; Kindle Edition; page 195

We are in Serious Trouble in the Church

Simply put, we’re in serious trouble in the church. It isn’t because we are sinners or because we don’t know enough, pray enough, or read the Bible enough. Our problem isn’t about being more faithful or not living a supernatural life of victory. Our problem isn’t going to be fixed with more programs, better methods of evangelism and stewardship, or discipline. Our problem isn’t spiritual formation or that we are not missional.

Our problem is that we have taken the best news ever given to the world, run it through a “religious grid” and made something unpalatable out of it. In short we’ve taken the good news and made it bad news. Ad if you listen carefully, you can hear old Slew Foot (that would be the devil) laughing.

– Brown, Steve; Three Free Sins: God’s Not Mad At You; Howard Books; New York, copyright 2012; Kindle Edition; Location 332

Adversity is Meant for our Sanctification

So the discipline of adversity is given to us by God as a means of our sanctification.  Our role in this discipline is to respond to it and to acquiesce to whatever God may be doing, even though a particular instance of adversity makes no sense to us.  As we do this we will see in due time the fruit of the Spirit produced in our lives.

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 230

He Always Disciplines us For Our Good

God, however, always disciplines us for our good.  He knows what is best for each one of us.  He doesn’t have to debate with Himself over what is most suitable for us.  He knows intuitively and perfectly the nature, intensity, and duration of adversity that will best serve His purpose to make us partakers of His holiness.  He never brings more pain than is needed to accomplish His purpose (Lamentations 3:33).

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p.

All Are Hardships Intended by God to be Means of Developing Christlike Character

Endure all hardship as discipline.  I don’t want to trivialize hardship, but all of us know that there are varying degrees of adversity.  Some is life shattering, such as the death of a loved one or a permanently disabling injury.  At the opposite end of the spectrum are situations that are really no more than temporary nuances, such as an unexpected visitor dropping by when you are working against a tight deadline.  All of these circumstances and events, whether trivial or serious, are intended by God to be means of developing more Christlike character.

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 224

We Must Assume Our Responsibility to Discipline

If we are to make any progress in the pursuit of holiness, we must assume our responsibility to discipline or train ourselves.  But we are to do all this in total dependence on the Holy Spirit to work in us and strengthen us with the strength that is in Christ.

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 134

This Requires No Less than Discipline

To behold the glory of Christ in the gospel is a discipline.  It is a habit we must develop by practice as we learn to preach the gospel to ourselves.  As I have repeatedly said, although sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, it is a work in which He involves us. 

 – Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 109

That Would Be Salvation By Works

Let me be clear at this point.  We do not pursue holiness or the evidences of God’s discipline to attain salvation.  That would be salvation by works.  Rather, God’s discipline in our lives, and the desire to pursue holiness on our part, be it ever so faint, is the inevitable result of receiving God’s gift of salvation by faith.  As Martin Luther is so often quoted as saying, “We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone.”

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 81-82

We Can Easily Fall Into One of Two Errors

Without a continual reminder of the good news of the gospel, we can easily fall into one of two errors.  The first is to focus on our external performance and become proud like the Pharisees.  We may then begin to look down our spiritual noses at others who are not as disciplined, obedient and committed as we are and in a very subtle way begin to feel spiritually superior to them.

The second error is the exact opposite of the first.  It is the feeling of guilt.  We have been exposed to the disciplines of the Christian life, to obedience and to service, and in our hearts we have responded to those challenges.  We haven’t however, been as successful as others around us appear to be.  Or we find ourselves dealing with some of the sins of the heart such as anger, resentment, covetousness and a judgmental attitude.  Perhaps we struggle with impure thoughts or impatience, or a lack of faith and trust in God.  Because we have put the gospel in the shelf as far as our own lives are concerned, we struggle with a sense o failure and guilt.  We believe God is displeased with us, and we certainly wouldn’t expect His blessings on our lives.  After all, we don’t deserve His favor.

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 21-22

Does God Care About Our Obedience?

Does the fact that God has forgiven us all our sins mean that He no longer cares whether we obey or disobey?  Not at all.  The Scripture speaks of our grieving the Holy Spirit through our sins (Ephesians 4:30).  And Paul prayed that we “may please [God] in every way” (Colossians 1:10).  We grieve God and we please God.  Clearly, He cares about our conduct and will discipline us when we refuse to repent of conscious sin.  But God is no longer our judge.  Through Christ He is now our heavenly Father who disciplines us only out of love and for our good.

– Bridges, Jerry; The Disciplined of Grace:God’s Role and Our Role in the Pursuit of Holiness; NavPress; Colorado Springs; copyright 1994; p. 12-13