Tag Archives: Jerry Bridges

The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Say No

Today’s Scripture: Titus 2:11-12

“The grace of God has appeared . . . training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions.”

Grace teaches us to say no to ungodliness. Ungodliness in its broadest form basically comprises disregarding God, ignoring him, or not taking him into account in one’s life. It’s a lack of fear and reverence for him. The wickedness portrayed by Paul in Romans 1:18-32 all starts with the idea that “although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him” (verse 21, NIV). A person may be highly moral and even benevolent and still be ungodly.

When we trust in Christ as our savior, we bring a habit of ungodliness into our Christian lives. We were accustomed to living without regard for God. As unbelievers, we cared neither for his glory nor his will. Basically, we ignored him. But now that we have been delivered from the dominion of sin and brought under the reign of grace, grace teaches us to renounce this attitude (as well as actions) of ungodliness. Obviously this training does not occur all at once. In fact, God will be rooting out ungodliness from our lives as long as we live on this earth.

Grace also teaches us to say no to worldly passions, the inordinate desire for and preoccupation with the things of this life, such as possessions, prestige, pleasure, or power. “For this world in its present form is passing away” (1 Corinthians 7:31, NIV).

Saying no to ungodliness and worldly passions basically means a decisive break with those attitudes and practices. In one sense, this decisive break is a divine act that occurred when we died to the dominion of sin in our lives. In another sense, we’re to work out this breach with sin by putting to death the misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Everything for Us

Today’s Scripture: 1 John 3:16

“He laid down his life for us.”

The law of God set forth in Scripture is a transcript of God’s own moral nature. It’s the law that was fully imprinted on Adam’s heart as part of his being created in God’s image. It’s the same law that the apostle Paul said is still written on people’s hearts regardless of how obscured it may now be (Romans 2:12-16). It’s a universal law applicable to all people of all times.

The apostle Paul was referring to this universal moral will of God when he wrote that Christ was “born under the law” (Galatians 4:4). Jesus was born under the law because he came to perfectly obey it in our place. He came to do what we, because of our sinful nature, could not do.

There is, however, another significant dimension to Jesus’ obedience. As our representative, he not only was obligated to obey the precepts of the law, but also to suffer its penalty for our violation of it. This obligation he freely assumed in obedience to the Father’s will.

So Jesus not only obeyed the Father’s universal moral will, which we call the law of God; he also obeyed the Father’s specific will for him, namely to suffer the penalty for our sin. The writer of Hebrews referred to this specific will of God for Jesus when he wrote, “and by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10, NIV).

In recent years Christians have tended to focus on the death of Christ almost to the neglect of his sinless life. Jesus’ life of perfect obedience has been seen mostly as a necessary precondition to his death. However, Jesus not only died for us; he also lived for us. All that Christ did in both his life and death, he did in our place as our substitute. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Who Needs Grace Most?

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 1:7

“You are all partakers with me of grace.”

All of us need grace, the saint as well as the sinner. The most conscientious, dutiful, hardworking Christian needs God’s grace as much as the most dissolute, hard-living sinner. All of us need the same grace. The sinner doesn’t need more grace than the saint, nor does the immature and undisciplined believer need more than the godly, zealous missionary. We all need the same amount because the “currency” of our good works is debased and worthless before God.

Grace considers all people as totally undeserving and unable to do anything to earn the blessing of God. C. Samuel Storms has aptly written, “Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to bestow it in the presence of human merit. Grace ceases to be grace if God is compelled to withdraw it in the presence of human demerit. [Grace] is treating a person . . . solely according to the infinite goodness and sovereign purpose of God.”

This description of God’s grace cuts both ways: It can neither be earned by your merit nor forfeited by your demerit. If you feel you deserve an answer to prayer or a particular blessing from God because of your hard work or sacrifice, you’re living by works, not by grace. But it’s just as true that if you despair of experiencing God’s blessing because of your demerits, you’re also casting aside the grace of God.

I seldom think of merit on my part, but I’m often painfully aware of my demerits. Therefore, I need to be reminded frequently that my demerits do not compel God to withdraw his grace from me, but rather he treats me with no regard whatsoever to what I deserve. I’d much rather stake my hope of his blessing on his infinite goodness than on my good works.



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – No Cross, No Gospel

Today’s Scripture: Romans 5:2

“Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand.”

When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you’ll begin realizing what an awful sinner you are. If you aren’t firmly rooted in the Gospel and haven’t learned to preach it to yourself every day, you’ll soon become discouraged and will slack off. In the pursuit of holiness, nothing’s more important than learning to preach the Gospel to yourself every day.

In doing so, we must be careful not to preach a Gospel without a cross. All the wonderful promises of forgiveness in Scripture are based upon Christ’s atoning death. Through it he satisfied God’s justice and averted from us God’s wrath. We must be careful not to rely on the so-called unconditional love of God without realizing his love can flow to us only as a result of Christ’s atoning death.

This is the Gospel by which we were saved, and the Gospel by which we must live every day of our Christian lives.

In Romans 3:24, Paul said we are justified by grace, referring to what we might call our point-in-time salvation, the day we trusted in Christ. In Romans 5:2, however, Paul spoke of this grace in which we now stand. Here he refers to our day-to-day standing before God as being on the same basis as our justification—the basis of grace. But this grace—unmerited favor to those who deserve wrath—comes to us through the Lord Jesus Christ.

God is the “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10) and is disposed to deal with us by grace, but not at the expense of his justice. But with justice satisfied, God can now deal with us in grace, both in our salvation and in our day-to-day relationship with him. (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – The Heartbeat of the Godly

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 42:2

“My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.”

In Psalm 27:4, David expressed an intense desire for God: “one thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” David yearned intensely for God himself that he might enjoy his presence and his beauty. Because God is a spirit, his beauty obviously refers not to a physical appearance but to his attributes. David enjoyed dwelling upon the majesty and greatness, the holiness and goodness of God. But David did more than contemplate the beauty of God’s attributes; he sought God himself, for elsewhere he says, “earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you” (Psalm 63:1, NIV).

The apostle Paul also experienced this longing for God: “I want to know Christ” (Philippians 3:10, NIV). The Amplified Bible forcefully catches the intensity of Paul’s desire in this passage: “[For my determined purpose is] that I may know him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of his Person more strongly and more clearly].”

This is the heartbeat of the godly person. As he contemplates God in the awesomeness of his infinite majesty, power, and holiness, and then as he dwells upon the riches of his mercy and grace poured out at Calvary, his heart is captivated by this one who could love him so. He is satisfied with God alone, but he is never satisfied with his present experience of God. He always yearns for more.



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Preach the Gospel to Yourself

Today’s Scripture: 1 Corinthians 15:1

“I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel.”

To preach the Gospel to yourself means that you continually face up to your own sinfulness and then flee to Jesus through faith in his shed blood and righteous life. It means that you appropriate, again by faith, the fact that Jesus fully satisfied the law of God. In both its precepts and penalty, he fulfilled the law of God in its most exacting requirements. And he did this in our place as our representative and our substitute. He is your propitiation, so that God’s holy wrath is no longer directed toward you.

To preach the Gospel to yourself means that you take at face value the precious words of Romans 4:7-8: “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” You believe on the testimony of God: “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). You believe that “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us” (Galatians 3:13). You believe he forgave you all your sins (Colossians 2:13), that he reconciled you “to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him” (Colossians 1:22).

To preach the Gospel to yourself means you appropriate by faith the words of Isaiah 53:6: “The Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” It means you dwell upon the promise that God has removed your transgressions from you as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12), that he has blotted out your transgressions and remembers your sin no more (Isaiah 43:25). (Excerpt taken from The Discipline of Grace)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Quality Obedience

Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 2:22

“He committed no sin.”

There are times when our inward desires do not match our outward conduct. We act very proper on the outside, but sin in our hearts. This was never the case with Jesus. Through one of the messianic psalms he could say, “I delight to do your will, o my God; your law is within my heart” (Psalm 40:8). He not only perfectly obeyed the law of God; he always desired to do so and, in fact, delighted in doing it. Once he even said, “My food . . . is to do the will of him who sent me” (John 4:34, NIV).

If we think about it, we realize that obedience that isn’t delighted in is not perfect obedience. Yet that was the quality of obedience Jesus rendered throughout his life.

In one of his many confrontations with his chief antagonists, the Jewish religious leaders, Jesus could unselfconsciously and without any pretentiousness say, “I always do what pleases [the Father]” (John 8:29, NIV). Such a claim must include not only Jesus’ outward actions and speech, but also his inward thoughts (Psalm 139:1-4). Even more important, it must include his motives, for God not only knows our thoughts but understands our motives as well (1 Chronicles 28:9; 1 Corinthians 4:5).

A little later in the same confrontation Jesus asked, “Which one of you convicts me of sin?” (John 8:46). Jesus dared his critics to name a single sin he had committed, knowing full well how eager they would have been to do so if it were possible.

It’s no wonder that at the beginning of his ministry and again toward the end of it, a voice came from heaven saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17; 17:5).



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Making Up Our Deficiencies?

Today’s Scripture: Luke 18:13

“God, be merciful to me, a sinner!”

Sin is more than actions; it’s an attitude that ignores God’s law. It’s more than a rebellious attitude; sin is a state of corruption in our inmost being, of vileness, even of filthiness in God’s sight. For this reason the Bible never speaks of God’s grace as simply making up our deficiencies—as if salvation consists in so much good works plus so much of God’s grace. Rather the Bible speaks of a God “who justifies the ungodly” (Romans 4:5), who is found by those who do not seek him, who reveals himself to those who do not ask for him (Romans 10:20).

In Jesus’ parable in Luke 18:9-14, the tax collector did not ask God to simply make up his deficiencies. Rather, he beat his breast—a sign of his deep anguish—and said, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner!” (verse 13). He declared total spiritual bankruptcy, and on that basis, he experienced the grace of God. Jesus said the man went home justified—declared righteous by God.

Like the tax collector, we don’t just need God’s grace to make up for our deficiencies; we need his grace to provide a remedy for our guilt, a cleansing for our pollution. We need his grace to provide a satisfaction of his justice, to cancel a debt we cannot pay.

It may seem that I’m belaboring the point of our guilt and vileness before God. But we can never rightly understand God’s grace until we understand our plight as those who need his grace.

As Dr. C. Samuel Storms said, “The first and possibly most fundamental characteristic of divine grace is that it presupposes sin and guilt. Grace has meaning only when men are seen as fallen, unworthy of salvation, and liable to eternal wrath.” (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Iniquity of Holy Things

Today’s Scripture: Luke 18:11

“God, I thank you that I am not like other men . . . or even like this tax collector.”

With whom do we identify, the Pharisee or the tax collector? The prodigal son or the older brother? Obviously no one wants to identify with the Pharisee or the older brother. But are we willing to identify with the tax collector and the prodigal son, as sinners deeply in need of the grace and mercy of God? Are we willing to say, “God, be merciful to me the sinner” or “I am no longer worthy to be called your son”? Are we willing to acknowledge that even our righteous acts are no more than filthy rags in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6)?

John Owen, known as the prince of Puritan theologians, wrote these words way back in 1657: “Believers obey Christ as the one by whom our obedience is accepted by God. Believers know all their duties are weak, imperfect and unable to abide in God’s presence. Therefore they look to Christ as the one who bears the iniquity of their holy things, who adds incense to their prayers, gathers out all the weeds from their duties and makes them acceptable to God.”

Owen speaks of Christ bearing the iniquity of our holy things—the sinfulness of even our good works. As another Puritan preacher was reputed to have said, “even our tears of repentance need to be washed in the blood of the Lamb.” Our best works can never earn us one bit of favor with God. Let us then turn our attention from our own performance—whether it seems good or bad—and look to the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which is God’s provision for our sin, not only on the day we trusted Christ for salvation but every day of our Christian lives.



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Personal Responsibility

Today’s Scripture: Leviticus 20:7

“Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God.”

Another reason that we do not experience more holiness in daily living is that we have misunderstood “living by faith” (Galatians 2:20) to mean no effort at holiness is required on our part. In fact, sometimes we’ve even suggested that any effort on our part is “of the flesh.”

The words of J. C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool from 1880 to 1900, are instructive to us on this point: “Is it wise to proclaim in so bald, naked, and unqualified a way as many do, that the holiness of converted people is by faith only, and not at all by personal exertion? Is it according to the proportion of God’s Word? I doubt it. That faith in Christ is the root of all holiness . . . no well-instructed Christian will ever think of denying. But surely the Scriptures teach us that in following holiness the true Christian needs personal exertion and work as well as faith.”

We must face the fact that we have a personal responsibility for our walk of holiness. One Sunday our pastor in his sermon said words to this effect: “you can put away that habit that has mastered you if you truly desire to do so.” Because he was referring to a particular habit which was no problem to me, I quickly agreed with him in my mind. But then the Holy Spirit said to me, “and you can put away the sinful habits that plague you if you will accept your personal responsibility for them.” Acknowledging that I did have this responsibility turned out to be a milestone for me in my own pursuit of holiness.

Will you begin to take personal responsibility for your sin, realizing that as you do, you must depend on the grace of God? (Excerpt taken from The Pursuit of Holiness)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Going Our Own Way

Today’s Scripture: 1 Peter 2:25

“You were straying like sheep.”

One of the most damning indictments of mankind is found in Isaiah 53:6: “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” (NIV). Going our own way is the very essence, the very core, of sin. Your way may be to give money to charity; another person’s way may be to rob a bank. But neither is done with reference to God; both of you have gone your own way. And in a world governed by a sovereign Creator, that is rebellion.

When a particular territory rebels against a nation’s central government, the citizens of that territory may be generally decent individuals. But all their goodness is irrelevant to the central government, to whom there’s only one issue: the state of rebellion. Sometimes governments are so corrupt, we may applaud a rebellious territory. But God’s government is perfect and just. His moral law is “holy, righteous and good” (Romans 7:12, NIV). No one has a valid reason to rebel against his government. We rebel for only one reason: We were born rebellious, with a perverse inclination to go our own way, to set up our own internal government rather than submit to God.

It’s not that some become sinful because of an unfortunate childhood environment while others are blessed with a highly moral upbringing. Rather we’re all born sinners with a corrupt nature, a natural inclination to go our own way. As David wrote, “I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me” (Psalm 51:5). David acknowledges he was sinful while still in his mother’s womb, even during the period of pregnancy when as yet he had performed no actions, either good or bad. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Saint or Sinner?

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 1:1

“To all the saints in Christ Jesus .”

As Christians, should we view ourselves as saints or sinners? My answer is both. Paul often referred to believers as saints (Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1), and we really are—not only in our standing before God but in our essential persons as well. We really are new creations in Christ. A fundamental change has occurred in the depths of our being. The Holy Spirit has come to dwell within us, and we’ve been freed from sin’s dominion. But despite this we still sin every day, many times a day. And in that sense we’re sinners.

We should always view ourselves both in terms of what we are in Christ (saints) and what we are in ourselves (sinners). To help us understand this twofold view of ourselves, consider Jesus as an analogy. In his own person he was sinless, but as our representative he assumed our guilt. However, he never had any of the personal feelings associated with guilt. He was fully conscious of his own sinless-ness even when bearing our sins and the curse of our sins in our place.

Just as Christ could maintain a separate sense of his personal sinless-ness and his official bearing of our sin, so we must distinguish between the righteousness we have in him and the sinfulness we see in ourselves. We should always rejoice in the righteousness we have in Christ and never cease to feel deeply our own sinfulness and consequent unworthiness.

If we refuse to identify ourselves as sinners as well as saints, we risk the danger of deceiving ourselves about our sin and becoming self-righteous. Our hearts are deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9), and we all have moral “blind spots.” We have a difficult enough time seeing our sin without someone insisting that we no longer consider ourselves as “sinners.”



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – A Biblical View of Grace

Today’s Scripture: 2 Corinthians 6:1

“We appeal to you not to receive the grace of God in vain.”

I once heard a definition of grace as God’s making up the difference between the requirements of his righteous law and what we lack in meeting those requirements. No one is good enough to earn salvation by himself, this definition said, so God’s grace simply makes up what we lack. Some receive more grace than others, but all receive whatever they need to obtain salvation. No one ever need be lost because whatever grace he needs is his for the taking.

This definition of grace sounds very generous of God, doesn’t it, making up whatever we lack? The problem with this definition, though, is that it isn’t true. It represents a grave misunderstanding of the grace of God and a very inadequate view of our plight as sinners before a holy God. We need to be sure we have a biblical view of grace, for grace is at the very heart of the Gospel. It is certainly not necessary for someone to understand all the theology of grace to be saved, but if a person has a false notion of grace, it probably means he or she does not really understand the Gospel.

For living by grace, we need to be sure we first understand saving grace. It would be a fatal injustice if I allowed you to believe that all the wonderful provisions of God’s grace are yours apart from salvation through Jesus Christ.

Grace is always the same, whether God exercises it in saving us or in dealing with us as believers. In whatever way the Bible defines saving grace, that same definition applies in the arena of living the Christian life day by day. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Keep Your Eye on the Goal

Today’s Scripture: Philippians 3:14

“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

All of us face the pressure of more to do than we have time for. So we have to set priorities. We have to determine what’s most important in our lives. We have to ask, “do I really want to grow spiritually?”

Get your goal clearly in mind and keep focused on that. Paul used the analogy of the competitive races of his day to challenge the Corinthians to pay the price of growth: “do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air” (1 Corinthians 9:24-26).

In our case, we have an advantage over those Grecian runners. In a given race, only one received the prize, and it was only a wreath that would soon fade. But we’re not in competition with anyone. We can all get the prize, and it will last forever.

What is your spiritual goal? Do you really want to get the prize? Do you want to grow to be the man or woman God wants you to be? Do you want to pay the price of the spiritual disciplines you need to practice in order to grow? Or will you be content to sort of muddle through your Christian life and, at the end, have to sum it all up as no more meaningful than a trip to the corner store for a loaf of bread?

The choice is yours. What will it be?



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – No Place to Hide

Today’s Scripture: Psalm 51:5

“I was brought forth in iniquity.”

Our fallen sinful nature affects and pollutes everything we do. Our very best deeds are stained with sin. Even our acts of obedience fall so far short of perfection, defiled as they are by remaining sin, that they are but as “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6, NIV) when compared with the righteousness God’s law requires.

If we limit our attention to single sins to the neglect of our sinful nature, we’ll never discover how deeply infected with sin we really are. When David prayed his memorable prayer of Psalm 51, after he’d committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband murdered, he traced his heinous actions back to their original cause—his sinful nature acquired in his mother’s womb.

You might be thinking, “Why devote so much attention to sin? It just makes me feel guilty.” My reason is to cause us all to realize we have no place to hide. Only against the dark backdrop of our sinfulness can we see the glory of the cross shining forth in all its brilliance and splendor.

We often resort to euphemisms to mitigate the severity of our sins. I sat with some friends across the table from a Christian leader who said, “I’ve had an affair.” Of course we all knew what he meant, but I later wished I’d had the presence of mind to respond, “Bob, look me in the eye and say, I’ve committed adultery.’” We need to call sin what the Bible calls it and not soften it with expressions borrowed from our culture.

Furthermore, even a deep, penetrating sense of our sinfulness does not do justice to the reality of our predicament. Our situation was so desperate that only the death of God’s own Son on a cruel and shameful cross was sufficient to resolve the problem. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Our Highest Moment

Today’s Scripture: Galatians 6:14

“Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Mutua Mahiaini, leader of The Navigators ministry in Kenya, addressed eloquently the issue of performance versus God’s grace:

“In talking with many believers, I get the impression that most of us consider the on-going repentance of the saved as a not-so-glorious experience. A sort of sad necessity.

Sin grieves God. We must not down-play the seriousness of it in the life of a believer. But we must come to terms with the fact that God’s grace is greater than all our sins. Repentance is one of the Christian’s highest privileges. A repentant Christian focuses on God’s mercy and God’s grace. Any moment in our lives when we bask in God’s mercy and grace is our highest moment. Higher than when we feel smug in our decent performance and cannot think of anything we need to confess.

Whenever we fail—and fail we will—the Spirit of God will work on us and bring us to the foot of the cross where Jesus carried our failures. That is potentially a glorious moment. For we could at that moment accept God’s abundant mercy and grace and go forth with nothing to boast of except Christ himself, or else we struggle with our shame, focusing on that as well as our track record. one who draws on God’s mercy and grace is quick to repent, but also slow to sin.”

Are you and I willing to live like Mutua and the apostle Paul? Are we willing to rely on God’s grace and mercy alone instead of our performance, to boast in nothing except the cross? If so, we can bask every day in the grace of God. And in the joy and confidence of that grace we can vigorously pursue holiness.



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – At the King’s Table

Today’s Scripture: 2 Samuel 9:7

“You shall eat at my table always.”

There’s a beautiful story in the life of King David illustrating God’s grace to us through Christ. Mephibosheth was the son of David’s bosom friend, Jonathan, son of Saul. He’d been crippled in both feet at age five. After David was established as king over all Israel, he desired to show kindness to anyone remaining of Saul’s family, “for Jonathan’s sake.” So Mephibosheth—crippled and destitute, unable to care for himself and living in someone else’s house—was brought into David’s house and “ate at David’s table like one of the king’s sons” (2 Samuel 9:11, NIV).

Why was Mephibosheth treated this way? It was for Jonathan’s sake. We might say Jonathan’s loyal friendship with David “earned” Mephibosheth’s seat at David’s table. Mephibosheth, in his crippled and destitute condition, unable to improve his lot and wholly dependent on the benevolence of others, is an illustration of you and me, crippled by sin and unable to help ourselves. David, in his graciousness, illustrates God the Father, and Jonathan illustrates Christ.

Just as Mephibosheth was elevated to a place at the king’s table for Jonathan’s sake, so you and I are elevated to the status of God’s children for Christ’s sake. And just as being seated at the king’s table involved not only daily food but other privileges as well, so God’s salvation for Christ’s sake carries with it all the provisions we need, not only for eternity but for this life as well.

This account both begins and ends with the statement that Mephibosheth was crippled in both feet (verses 3,13). Mephibosheth never got over his crippled condition. He never got to the place where he could leave the king’s table and make it on his own. And neither do we. (Excerpt taken from Transforming Grace)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Two Standards

Today’s Scripture: Matthew 22:40

“On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Have you thought about what it means to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind” (Matthew 22:37, NIV)?

Here are a few obvious aspects: you seek fellowship with him and long to gaze upon his beauty (Psalm 27:4). You rejoice in meditating on his Word and rise early to pray (Psalm 119:97; Mark 1:35). You always delight to do his will (Psalm 40:8). A regard for his glory governs and motivates everything you do (1 Corinthians 10:31)—eating and drinking, working and playing, buying and selling, reading and speaking, even driving. You’re never discouraged or frustrated by adverse circumstances because you’re confident God is working all things together for your good (Romans 8:28). You’re always content because you know he’ll never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5).

Or look at what Jesus called the “second” commandment: “love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39, NIV). Among other things, this would mean that you never show selfishness, irritability, peevishness, or indifference in your dealings with others. You take a genuine interest in their welfare and seek to promote their interests, honor, and well-being. You never regard them with prideful superiority or talk about their failings. You never resent any wrongs they do to you, but instead are always ready to forgive. You always treat them as you would have them treat you.

Do you begin to grasp some of the implications of what it means to obey these two commandments? Most of us don’t even think about them in the course of a day, let alone aspire to obey them. Instead we content ourselves with avoiding major outward sins and performing accepted Christian duties. (Excerpt taken from The Gospel for Real Life)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Conduct and Character

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 5:14

“The mature . . . have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.”

The relationship between conduct and character is an intimate one. In the form of repeated actions over time, conduct produces character. That’s the teaching of 2 Peter 2:14 and Romans 6:19. But it’s also true that character determines actions. What we do, we become; what we are, we do.

Conduct is always feeding character, but character is also always feeding conduct. Paul’s experience while shipwrecked on the island of Malta furnishes a good example of this relationship. The islanders built the refugees a fire because of the rain and cold. Luke related in Acts 28 that Paul gathered a pile of brushwood, and, as he put it on the fire, a snake came out of the brushwood and fastened itself on Paul’s hand. Under the adverse circumstances of shipwreck, why would Paul have gone about gathering fuel for a fire built and tended by someone else? Why not just stand by the fire and warm himself? Because it was his character to serve (Acts 20:33-35; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-9). He’d learned well the lesson Jesus taught when he washed his disciples’ feet. Because it was Paul’s character to serve, he gathered the brushwood instinctively.

Because conduct determines character, and character determines conduct, it’s vitally important —extremely necessary —that we practice godliness every day. That’s why Peter said, “Make every effort to supplement your faith with . . . godliness” (2 Peter 1:5-6). There can be no letup in our pursuit of godly character. Every day that we’re not practicing godliness we’re being conformed to the world of ungodliness around us. Granted, our practice of godliness is imperfect and falls far short of the biblical standard. Nevertheless, let us press on to know Christ and to be like him. (Excerpt taken from The Fruitful Life)



The Navigators – Jerry Bridges – Holiness Day by Day Devotional – Never Directly

Today’s Scripture: Hebrews 10:19

“We have confidence to enter the holy places by the bloo

d of Jesus. ”

Pharisee-type believers unconsciously think they’ve earned God’s blessing through their behavior. Guilt-laden believers are sure they’ve forfeited God’s blessing through disobedience or lack of discipline. Both have forgotten the meaning of grace—God’s unmerited favor to those who deserve only his wrath.

Most of us probably entertain either of these attitudes on different days. On a good day (as we perceive it), we tend toward self-righteous pharisaism. On a not-so-good day, we allow ourselves to wallow in a sense of failure and guilt. Either way we’ve moved away from the Gospel of God’s grace, trying to relate to God directly on the basis of our performance rather than through Christ.

God never intended that we relate to him directly. Our own performance is never good enough to be acceptable. The only way we can relate to him is through the blood and righteousness of Jesus Christ. Only the blood of Jesus will cleanse us from a guilty conscience and give us confidence to enter into God’s presence (Hebrews 10:19-21).

The Gospel, applied every day to our hearts, frees us to be brutally honest with ourselves and with God. The assurance of his total forgiveness through Christ’s blood means we don’t have to play defensive games anymore. We don’t have to rationalize and excuse our sins. We can say we told a lie instead of saying we exaggerated a bit. We can admit an unforgiving spirit instead of continuing to blame others for our emotional distress. We can call sin exactly what it is, however ugly and shameful it may be, because we know Jesus bore that sin in his body on the cross. We have no reason to hide from our sins anymore.