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The Practice of Godliness: Godliness has value for all things Paperback – February 1, 1996
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From the Back Cover
In order to live godly lives, we need an inward foundation of God-centeredness. This book will help you establish that foundation and then build an outward structure of godlikeness.
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Top Customer Reviews
Jerry Bridges defines godliness as "devotion to God which results in a life that is pleasing to him." The first several chapters deal with the devotion. Bridges emphasizes the necessity of a proper motivation, and what's more, he explains some ways in which we can develop that motivation. To me, it was a completely new way of looking at things. In the remainder of the book, Bridges focuses each chapter on one or two godly traits, such as humility, joy, thanksgiving, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, self-control, and love. Bridges uses scripture to explore the traits and how we can develop them. I have read much about these traits in the past--what amazed me about this book was the practical guidance for developing them. For instance, Bridges includes many scripture passages we can meditate on and pray through to help us understand certain godly traits and grow in those areas. He also discusses our responsibility vs. God's responsibility for the development of godliness in our lives.
This book gave me a lot to think about and a new perspective on some incredibly important things. I think this book should be recommended reading for every Christian. A very good study guide is also available to supplement the book.
The first four chapters of Bridges' book discuss godliness in general: what is it, why is it important, what is its proper motivation, and how do we develop it? Throughout these chapters and the remainder of the book, Bridges emphasizes the Christian's responsibility in developing godliness. While the Holy Spirit's work is essential, believers cannot expect to become godly without effort. We must pursue it:
"We Christians may be very disciplined and industrious in our business, our studies, our home, or even our ministry, but we tend to be lazy when it comes to exercise in our spiritual lives. We would much rather pray, `Lord, make me godly,' and expect Him to `pour' some godliness into our souls in some mysterious way. God does in fact work in a mysterious way to make us godly, but He does not do this apart from the fulfillment of our own personal responsibility. We are to train ourselves to be godly."
The remaining fourteen chapters cover specific characteristics of godliness with practical ways to grow in each. These virtues draw primarily from Paul's list in Galatians 5:22-23, but Bridges draws from other passages as well. They are: humility, contentment, thankfulness, joy, holiness, self-control, faithfulness, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness, goodness, and love.
This book is grounded in an understanding of salvation by grace alone. It is not legalistic. Bridges is clear that both salvation and sanctification are the work of God. Yet the New Testament teaches that true believers will seek to live godly lives out of gratitude for that grace. This book is Bridges' effort to help us do just that. I was both challenged and encouraged while reading it.
When I read Bridges, I feel as though I'm sitting with my grandfather while he humbly and patiently teaches me from the Word of God. And I sense that I am with a man who intimately knows his God. His books are clear, biblical, full of wisdom, and easy to read. This one is no exception. Like all of his books, I recommend it.
I received a review copy of this book through the NavPress Blogger Review Program.