thought provoking, truly helpful and Spirit-filled
March 21, 2012
Greenfield Park, Quebec
I chose this for a Lenten study with a church group. The insights are refreshing and sometimes painful. He writes in a manner which is both engaging and thought provoking. We have two new Christians in the group and they are sharing how helpful the teaching is to them. There are many "ouch" moments but God is using this to challenge us for a deeper cultivation of the fruit of the Spirit in my life and those of the others in the group.
The Fruitful Life is definitely not a quick read, but is absolutely, positively worth the time. Jerry Bridges uses frequent scripture references to expound upon each fruit of the Spirit, and places a great emphasis on personal prayer and Bible reading. Each chapter has study questions that encourage the Christian to open the Bible, pray, and think about what Christ-like character means. The humble tone of the writing is wonderful. The authors fundamental devotion to God shines through. While Bridges offers the reader scriptures and methods to mold character through the fruit of the Spirit, he stresses that each Christian is individual, with a very personal relationship with God. He encourages the reader to use the book as a starting place, but most importantly to pray, ponder, worship, study on ones own, and seek out the help of the Holy Spirit to find the path that God wants for the reader. Although the book has many how-tos, it is not simply a book of instruction, but one of encouragement that led me many times to pray and open my Bible to learn more. I will be referring to this book over and over in the future, and consider it one of the best books I have ever read. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program, in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Jerry Bridges calls the fruitful life the overflow of Gods love through you. In his book, The Fruitful Life, Bridges covers nine fruits of the Spirit, from Galatians 5:22-23, including love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. In order to produce fruit, a Christian must be devoted to God. According to Bridges, you cannot be a Christian and not have a basic devotion to God.This devotion will spur you on to seek to become God-centered and God-like. As with all of his books, he uses Scripture as the guideline to follow when looking for direction in seeking Gods principles in our life. Each chapter ends with a group of questions and exercises to apply the principles he outlines. Perfect for individual or group study, The Fruitful Life will convict you, encourage you and guide you into a closer relationship with God.In recent years, weve tried to bring God to our level when we should be striving for His. We cannot forget about the holiness and godliness of God. There is an awe to this relationship we have failed to be taught, but Bridges is gradually bringing it back. Bridges will ask you to take a long hard look at yourself. Be prepared to see the good, the bad and the ugly. He also shows you what God would desire for you and how you can change. God is seeking a relationship with His people. Bridges is asking you to be open to seeing yourself the way God does and shows you through Scripture what God is seeking in you.Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from NavPress as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
Jerry Bridges has written an accessible, thoroughly Biblical guide to the fruits of the Spirit, based on Gal. 5:22-23. I loved the emphasis throughout that producing spiritual fruit is not something that we can do ourselves, its something we must allow the Spirit to do through us. It's also relational, having an outward focus toward other people, not just an inward, personal spiritual focus. It flows to us from our union with Christ and beyond us to bring us into fellowship with others.Ch. 1 examines how each of the nine traits is cultivated through devotion to Christ. Ch. 2 is one of the best, discussing our devotion to God in terms of a triangle with the two points at the base representing the fear of God and love for God while the apex represents the desire for God...the three essential elements of devotion. Bridges explanation of the biblical concept of the fear of God is superb. Ch. 3 is another favorite. It addresses humility, the soil in which all the other traits grow. Ch. 4-11 each examine one of the nine fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness/goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. The final chapter revisits devotion to God. Praying for growth, meditating on Gods word, worshiping God, and fellowship with God through quiet time are essential. Each chapter ends with questions for discussion and personal application, as well as Scriptures for meditation. This book is ideal for a group study or to use in personal devotions. Jerry Bridges has a true gift for expressing Biblical truth in an accessible, applicable way. Ill be revisiting this book in my personal devotions and taking more time to meditate on the Scriptures he provides throughout. Thank you to Navpress for providing a review copy of this title to me through their Blogger Review program. The opinions expressed are my own.
The Fruitful Life by Jerry Bridges is a wonderful devotional centered on becoming Christ-like by examining the "fruit of the Spirit". He takes the nine fruit of the Spirit listed in Galatians 5:22-23 and shares how we can cooperate with the Holy Spirit in producing these fruit in our own lives. A chapter is devoted to each of these - love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, where he defines them and then shows examples through scripture of each ones use and worth. Overall this is a very practical book, exposing our weaknesses and providing ideas on how to overcome them. The quest for Christ-likeness is one we would all claim to be on, but this book is slap of reality, awakening us from our slumber and self-deception. At the end of each chapter he includes "exercises for practice and discussion" which facilitate personal or small group study, but be warned, you may be forced into seeing things in yourself that you'd rather not. This may be why he included a chapter on humility at the beginning of the book. The Fruitful Life is a very helpful resource to deepen your devotion to and dependence on God and to grow in holiness out of your love for him.