Friday, June 4, 2010
Another Title by Jerry Bridges
Jerry Bridges provides us with a helpful study on the fruit of the Spirit in The Fruitful Life. He is careful to make the distinction between the fruit of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. The gifts are more function focused, while fruit is character focused. Perhaps too much emphasis has been placed on the gifts in contemporary literature rather than the fruit. As one said, “Many of those who contend for the gifts of the Spirit lack the spirit of the gifts.”
Bridges’ contribution is valuable because of these emphases:
First, he leads us to consider the fruit of the Spirit in the context of a life devoted to God. The emphasis on the fear of God, the love of God, and the desire for God is not what one expects from a work on this topic.
Second, Bridges is careful to lay a foundation of Christ centeredness as essential for the pursuit of God. We need to be Christ centered and gospel focused in our walk.
Third, the fruit of the Spirit is demonstrated to be qualities of Christlikeness. What is manifested in this fruit are character traits that model the life of Jesus.
Fourth, the fruit of the Spirit is not portrayed as passive qualities that just happen. It is true that only the Holy Spirit can produce fruit in a believer, it is also true that we have the responsibility to provide the best possible soil for the fruit to grow.
The exercises at the end of each chapter make this book a useful resource for small group Bible studies.