A Gift For This Season

“God is at work in you to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13

This column is dedicated to Jerry Bridges and Dave Hobbs. I have never actually met Jerry, but he touched a nerve and it made a difference. Dave arranged a meeting with Jerry I won’t soon forget.

Dave led the Men’s Group at my church last Friday night, where we observed an interview with Jerry Bridges by John Piper. It was on one of those big screens and I felt like we were right there. Eighty-three years old at the interview, his book The Pursuit of Holiness is a classic and he was recently welcomed into the presence of the Lord. It is a gift for this season of my life to hear from Godly men and women toward the end of their lives as they tell what matters most.

The interview centered on the influencing beliefs he had discovered along the way—biblical beliefs that figure heavily in the joy Jesus brings and how he lives for Jesus. What would be your favorites? Here is Bridges’ list: The application of Scripture to daily life; union with Christ; the doctrine of our salvation; our dependent responsibility; our union with Christ; living by the Gospel daily; I am consciously dependent on the Holy Spirit. Chew slowly.

Though many don’t like the term, we are all theologians. We have and are developing a system of guiding, controlling beliefs that influence how we live our daily lives and what encourages us in the losses and crosses of life. May I share a few of mine?

One, God is working in us, around us, and for us all the time (see Philippians 2:13 above). This very column is an example of something God has brought to my life recently in thought or circumstance. Nothing happens by accident; every minute and person matters.

Two, Scripture is God-breathed. What a thrill to have, read, study, and pray God’s living love letter to me.

Three, prayer is hard work and joy. This continuing conversation with God that He started is a holy privilege and delight, but it takes intentionality and persistence.

Four, God’s steadfast love (lovingkindness) has captured my heart. I underline it in red in my Bible(s). Lovingkindness is the composite of God’s mercy, grace, faithfulness, love, and goodness all rolled into one word. Knowing the guy in the mirror every morning, I am especially touched by mercy—God’s unmerited favor to those who deserve just the opposite.

Next, worship. Can you believe our Maker-God let’s us—wants us—urges us—to meet, adore, and know Him both personally? Maybe, this would be first if I prioritized my list. Number six is worship’s companion: The church Christ died for. We were made for it and are incomplete without it.

Last, our future. The New Heavens and Earth fascinate me and motivate me to get ready. No mere escape (usually), I can’t wait to see Christ face to face.

What do you really—really—believe?

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