April 9, 2011

The Pursuit of Holiness - Book Review

Whether you simply have a vague understanding of "holiness," or you are a Bible scholar that has spent a significant amount of time studying this word's origin, usage, and possible meanings, you know that holiness seems to be an unattainable attribute of men. Yet there it is in the Bible, the command, "Be Holy, for I am Holy." How are we to attain this holiness?  How are we to strive for this holiness?  What is meant by this command? To what degree are we to be holy?

These are the questions that I have struggled with over the years.  No matter how much I have efforted myself to be holy, I am not there.  Take into account all of my thoughts and desires and I am set back even further from the attainment of holiness.  Factor in my deep-seated motives, and holiness becomes a completely foreign country, where I am separated from it by vast oceans of selfishness, impurity, weakness, and the like.

The Pursuit of HolinessA few years ago I read through The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges, and it really helped me to understand the meaning of holiness, the commands of holiness, and the pursuit of holiness from a Biblical perspective.  Over the last few weeks I have been listening Christian Audio's version of this book and have once again been assisted in my own personal pursuit.

This book is both encouraging, in its ability to relate to everyone's struggle, and convicting, in its confrontation of the lack of pursuit. You see, we must be in this pursuit of holiness.  Sharing the struggles with all mankind doesn't exempt us from striving, it demands that we do so by eliminating the excuse.  Because of this, I also appreciate the fact that this book is very theological without sacrificing its practicality.  In other words, it is very useful.  Jerry Bridges gives very practical applications while building the Biblical basis for those applications.  I was able to walk away with something to do.  I found myself putting the lessons into practice on those days where I had listened to a chapter on the way to work.

I highly recommend this book.  I especially recommend this book for use in a group study or Sunday school situation.  There are many opportunities for discussion as Jerry Bridges is also open and honest about his own struggles.

I would also like to recommend the Christian Audio version of this book.  The voice talents that Christian audio employs for the reading of their books are really quite good.  I always feel pulled in, as if the author was actually sitting there reading the book to me themselves.  I am even considering purchasing a few of the CD versions of these books to keep on the shelves at the church where I am the Pastor.  I see quite a potential for those who have a difficult time reading or are simply looking for a way to fill their commutes to work or the drives to a vacation.  There are many that may not purchase an audio book right now, but would consider listening to one if the church made it available.  I'm telling you, once you've listened to an audio book, you'll be hooked.