Here are some helpful highlights from my reading as of late in Jerry Bridges' The Discipline of Grace.
It is only the joy of hearing the gospel and being reminded that our sins are forgiven in Christ that will keep the demands of discipleship from becoming drudgery. It is only gratitude and love to God that comes from knowing that He no longer counts our sins against us (Romans 4:8) that provides the proper motive for responding to the claims of discipleship.
- pg. 21
We believers do need to be challenged to a life of committed discipleship, but that challenge needs to be based on the gospel, not on duty or guilt. Duty or guilt may motivate us for awhile, but only a sense of Christ's love for us will motivate us for a lifetime.
If the love of Christ for us is to be the motivating force for a life of discipleship, how then can we come to the place where we are acutely conscious of His love? The answer is, through the gospel. It is, of course, the Holy Spirit who pours out His love into our hearts (Romans 5:5), but He does this through the message of the gospel. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus paid for all our sins on the cross and that we are thereby forgiven. As we continually reflect upon that gospel, the Holy Spirit floods our hearts with a sense of God's love to us in Christ. And that sense of His love motivates us in a compelling way to live for Him.
- pg. 25-26
I am finding this book both timely and very helpful. It is simply amazing how easy it is to become focused upon things that are not central. Certainly there are many and diverse things which need to be attended to in our lives yet we need to avoid becoming side tracked by the doing of such things, even good things, to the neglect of regular reflections upon the gospel.
In all honesty I admit my heart was becoming a little disillusioned with some of these doings (which are good things, and which I enjoy). This book has been a needed reminder to keep my focus upon the main thing: Christ and His work at the cross to save sinners like me. How can one become disillusioned while considering the magnitude of how good this good news really is?