When we think of being blessed thoughts of financial abundance and success naturally fill our minds. Job promotions, smart children, luxurious vacations, and material possessions make us feel blessed. But what if this isn’t what Scripture means when it talks about being blessed? Vaneetha Rendall Risner says, “What is blessing, then? Scripture shows that blessing is anything God gives that makes us fully satisfied in him. Anything that draws us closer to Jesus. Anything that helps us relinquish the temporal and hold on more tightly to the eternal.” What if blessing has more to do with our spiritual growth in Christ than it does with our physical condition and circumstances?
Jerry Bridges wrote his last book before he passed away last year, called, The Blessing of Humility. Bridges’ points to this idea of being blessed as more of an inward advancement than a circumstantial one. In fact, he uses the Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew five to extend his point of humility being a blessing. After the introduction and his first chapter on the precepts and promises of humility, Bridges covers one Beatitude in each chapter. Then he concludes on the gospel’s interaction with humility. The book itself approaches the Beatitudes as “humility in action.”
Each Beatitude is one way humility is expressed in the everyday, such as: mourning our sin, dependence on Christ, submission to adversity and God’s Word, and seeking after the righteousness of Christ. Some other aspects Bridges explores in this book includes showing mercy to others (especially those who hurt us), accepting the Lordship of Christ in every area of life, seeking reconciliation with others, and repaying good for evil. As Bridges says, “Humility is not an optional add-on for the super-spiritual; it is for all believers to practice in our daily lives.”
Personal Reflections on the Blessing of Humility
Though humility seems hard for us to attain, and our lack of humility can feel discouraging, Bridges helps his readers focus on the gospel throughout this book. In doing so, he helps us see hope through the righteousness of Christ applied on our behalf, and the inner working of the Holy Spirit who helps us grow in these character traits. Bridges also points out the goodness of feeling inadequate in humility, since this helps us see our need for Christ, and provides a fertile ground for humility to grow. The book’s last chapter explains how the gospel helps us live our daily lives in humility. Bridges says, “It is impossible to truly walk in humility without to some degree appropriating the truth of the gospel every day.”
A book on humility is nothing new, but Bridges has brought a fresh angle to the topic here. I appreciate how he incorporates the Beatitudes and makes them come alive practically. He is down to earth in his approach to the topic as well, sharing personal anecdotes along with infusing the hope of the gospel into each chapter. He makes humility feel attainable in this little book. I learned aspects about the Beatitudes I’ve never considered before and felt encouraged in my pursuit of humility once I closed the book. Bridges in this book has shown us a clear picture of how Jesus intends to bless us, and how He gives grace to the humble.