We all admire humility when we see it. But how do we practice it? How does humility―the foundational virtue of the normal Christian life―become a normal part of our everyday lives?
Jerry Bridges sees in the Beatitudes a series of blessings from Jesus, a pattern for humility in action. Starting with poverty in spirit―an acknowledgment that in and of ourselves we are incapable of living holy lives pleasing to God―and proceeding through our mourning over personal sin, our hunger and thirst for righteousness, our experience of persecutions large and small, and more, we discover that humility is itself a blessing: At every turn, God is present to us, giving grace to the humble and lifting us up to blessing.
Really, I could just give you a few of the many quotes I highlighted throughout this brief book to give you an idea of what a magnificent book it is. I'll attempt to say a bit more about it, though.
Bridges takes each of the beatitudes and discusses them separately, while also connecting them to others. While this book has a small page number with under 100 pages, not counting the extras(notes, introduction, discussion guide), it has a great deal of challenging, thought provoking ideas within it. The author gets right to the point and doesn't fill the pages with words just to add pages to the book. I want more books like this!
It's requested to read The Blessing of Humility straight through, which won't take you long, and then to read it again, but more slowly. I recommend the same. There's so much good stuff in here that one read just doesn't do it justice. It's really one of the best books I've read, and it has showed me just how lacking I am in my life.
There's not a single person out there that won't benefit from this read, so I highly, highly recommend it. It is truly a wonderful book, and one that I will open up often, Lord willing, as long as I'm still on Earth. Jerry Bridges was a wise man, and I'm looking forward to reading more of his books now.
*I must add that Bridges and I have/had different opinions on some matters, particularly predestination, which isn't my opinion. Therefore, some of his beliefs clash with mine within the book. It's still a wonderful book, though, and I still recommend it. (And I still want to read more from him.)
Now, I'll leave you with a few quotes, though I highlighted a great deal!
"The person who is poor in spirit recognizes that his or her best deeds are always mingled with the corruption of one's sinful nature, with impure(that is, mixed)motives, and with imperfect performance. This person recognizes that he or she never comes close to obeying the law of God as Jesus defined it in Matthew 22: 37-39: to love God with all our being, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
At the same time, those who genuinely see their spiritual poverty do not wallow in it and say, "Oh, what a miserable Christian I am." Instead, they look to Christ and His Cross for cleansing from their sin." (page 12)
"It is so easy for us to stand apart from the culture and do no more than express self-righteous judgmentalism toward it. But those of us who grieve deeply over our own sin will not do this. Instead we will mourn over the sins and wickedness of our nation and will pray most urgently that, just as we want God to be merciful to us, so we want Him to be merciful to our nation as a whole."(page 25)
"To be a peacemaker means we must seek to be delivered from self-interest and not look at everything in terms of how it affects us. Instead we must be concerned about the glory of God and how we can best promote that glory in situations of conflict." (page 71-72)
"Instead of loving those whose actions and lifestyles we oppose, we seem to engage in some form of action that is inconsistent with Jesus' admonition to love our enemies." (page 78)
**I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.