Holiness and Our Wills

Men’s Small Group // April 11, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 13)

Philippians 2:12-13 ESV
Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, [13] for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Bridges calls us back to chapter 6 where John Owen reminded us that when the Bible speaks of the heart that it generally means all the faculties of the soul as they work together. These faculties being the mind, the emotions, and the will.

  • All of these were corrupted through man’s fall in the Garden.
    • Our reason (understanding) was darkened (Ephesians 4:18)
    • Our desires were entangled (Ephesians 2:3)
    • Our will was perverted (John 5:40)
  • It is important to understand the connection and interrelation of these three upon our actions.
  • We are called to guard our hearts – what enters our mind, what influences our emotions, are what ultimately drives our will.

So how do we guard our heart?

  • Bridges says, “There is absolutely no shortcut to holiness that bypasses or gives little priority to a consistent intake of the Bible.”
    • It is important to have intentional focused time in God’s Word in a variety of ways.
      • Reading, singing, listening, talking
    • It is also important to move this from our head to our heart.
      • Prayer, meditation & reflection, journaling, repenting
  • This is God working in you… For his good pleasure
    • God uses his word to not only give us the means of guarding our hearts, but to change them as well.
    • If your Bible intake is purely academic, then you are missing out on God’s good pleasure.

God’s good pleasure is our motivation

  • Do you see spiritual discipline as a chore or a task that must be done because that’s what’s expected of you?
  • Or do you see spiritual discipline as the opportunity to delight in the Lord.

Psalm 37:4 ESV
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

  • We read this verse and our first thought is, if I delight in the Lord then he will give me everything I desire.
    • A car, a house, a job, happiness, or whatever desire I can think of.
  • No, this verse is telling us that if we are delighting in the Lord, then he will remove our sinful, selfish, prideful desires and give us righteous desires.
    • These righteous desires… They are the one that he answers according to his good pleasure.
  • Desires focused around humility, repentance, mercy, compassion, and grace.
  • Changing our hearts through his word to be more like Jesus every day.
    • That’s our motivation!

Reflection Questions

  • How are you doing at guarding your heart?
  • How has your Bible intake become stale or purely academic?
  • What is your motivation for spiritual discipline and holiness?
  • Do you delight yourself in the Lord? Evaluate this compared to the other delights in your life (sports, cars, house, relationship, ministry)

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