Lessons From The Life Of Jerry Bridges
Beloved author Jerry Bridges entered into the joy of his Master on Sunday evening, March 6, 2016, at Penrose Hospital in Colorado Springs, the day after he suffered cardiac arrest. He was 86 years old.
There are not many authors today for whom we can say, "Read everything they have written." No author is infallible; everyone must be read with discernment. And yet even with those qualifiers, I would say, "Read anything he has written." His works were rigorously biblical and worshipful and careful.
In 2014, Jerry published a memoir of his life, tracing the providential hand of God through his own story: God Took Me by the Hand: A Story of God’s Unusual Providence (NavPress, 2014).
At the end of the book, he lists seven spiritual lessons he learned in his six decades of the Christian life. He thought there was no reason why younger believers couldn't learn these lessons early in life rather than taking as long as he had to learn them. Here they are:
- The Bible is meant to be applied to specific life situations.
- All who trust in Christ as Savior are united to Him in a loving way just as the branches are united to the vine.
- The pursuit of holiness and godly character is neither by self-effort nor simply letting Christ “live His life through you.”
- The sudden understanding of the doctrine of election was a watershed event for me that significantly affected my entire Christian life.
- The representative union of Christ and the believer means that all that Christ did in both His perfect obedience and His death for our sins is credited to us.
- The gospel is not just for unbelievers in their coming to Christ.
- We are dependent on the Holy Spirit to apply the life of Christ to our lives.
If you like to read autobiographies, and if you want to grow in grace, this might be an edifying book to read. Or here's an idea: why not read it with a friend? Take a chapter or two at a time and get together (face to face or by phone) to talk about how it is encouraging you, instructing you, or challenging you.
I thank God for the life of Jerry Bridges. And I think I can say with confidence that it'd be worth your time getting to know the humble, faithful work this servant of the Lord left behind.
For a fuller tribute to Jerry Bridges, along with a list to his audio and books, go here.