This week, we’re finishing up our discussion on Jerry Bridges’ book, “The Discipline of Grace,” by talking about being in training. Well, in all fairness, my co-facilitator and the others may opt to talk about something else from the chapter, but this is the part that jumped off the page at me, so let’s go with the analogy…
And I’m going to use a couple of different quotes, so just hang in there…
“There is no such thing as pain without a purpose in the life of a believer” (Bridges, 233).
“The discipline of hardship also produces peace for those who have been trained by it” (Bridges, 239).
Today, a friend of mine texted me. She’d had a dream about me last night and woke up a tad concerned about me, so she thought she’d check on me. And when I read her, “How are you doing?” The immediate answer that came to my mind was, “The battle goes on.” And y’all, that’s the truth. I’m not saying that life is bad, but it is hard, and it isn’t for the faint-hearted.
Reading this last chapter of Bridges’ book — which was on temptation, adversity, and discipline — I found this morsel of comfort just for me. And that comfort is that there is purpose in the pain; the pain prepares us. And because the pain prepares us, we have peace. Life doesn’t get easier. But we can have peace in the midst of it.
The analogy that came to my mind was this: Just as no general or commanding officer would send a recruit onto the front line with no training, so God trains us for the battles we face. We build up calluses, learn strategies, and get conditioned. It’s not always a gentle process. But it’s always necessary. And in the preparation, there’s strength and peace.
And I’ll end with this encouragement:
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” — James 1:2-4 NIV
Thank you for joining us! You do not have to read the book to share your thoughts; go ahead and comment! But if you have read the book and written a response, please link it up at the widget below. (Yes, I have the widget again, as my co-facilitator is posting from on the road with his family.) Speaking of co-facilitators, please go by and see what Jason has to say! After this, we are taking TWO WEEKS OFF before we will return to announce our next book (which we’ve already chosen, I’ve already started reading, and MAN it’s good)!
Last weekend, I went away on a retreat with more than a dozen ladies from my church. Seems like a good place to get away from temptation, right? In a house with 14 ladies, 3 bedrooms, and 2 bathrooms, there was little time, space, or privacy to engage in sinful activities, … [Read More...]
I am probably one of the most ambitious people you've ever met. I love Saturday mornings when I wake up full of energy and with a list in my head. I'm ready to conquer the world! I'm going to do the laundry, clean the entire apartment, make a trip to Goodwill, do the grocery shopping, cook my meals … [Read More...]
A few days after I found out that I have a sensitivity to wheat and gluten, I had an appointment with my dear friend, acupuncturist, and Chinese medicine practitioner, Eric. We talked at length about how to cope with my new dietary restriction, and I remember he asked me what food I was going to … [Read More...]
When I was four years old, we lived in a tiny country town in Jones County, North Carolina that was called Trenton. I remember only a little of the town and the church that my dad pastored, but I do have memories of the house. I remember the backyard, where I made mud pies during the summer. And I … [Read More...]
There are people in this world who were seemingly born independent, confident, and decisive. They're the ones who are always in command of their surroundings -- even if only in their own minds. They feel that they know what they're doing, and they want to be left alone to do it their way, because … [Read More...]
Rick's been gone to Heaven for a bit over a year, but his words still visit me often. And this week, as I was reading Chapter 4 of Jerry Bridges' book, "The Discipline of Grace," this "Rickism" is the one that came back to me: "If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, while it might be a … [Read More...]
Over the last several days, I've been reading my two current books, and laughing inside because both of them are talking about some of the same themes, just in very different terms. And the major theme that they've both been highlighting has been the gospel... Am I the only one that cringes a bit … [Read More...]
Some years ago, I wore a t-shirt that read, "Easily Distracted." It was a bad joke, actually, which played off of the fact that though I'm now a proud redhead (thanks to my beautiful and talented friend, Grace), originally, I was blonde. And as a young girl, I was also pretty innocent, naive, and … [Read More...]
You can have all of the keys in the world, but if you don't know which locks they open, the keys are going to do you no good. Let me back up a bit. "Let go and let God." Have you ever heard that one? I think I first heard it when I was in high school, and my best friend, lovingly known as … [Read More...]