After looking at the remedy for sin, the power of the Holy Spirit, and our active role in dealing with sin, Bridges turns to giving general directions that apply to all our subtle (and even not so subtle) sins. For those of you following the blog and not necessarily the book, I’ll list all seven here before writing my thoughts.
1. Apply the gospel
2. Depend on the Holy Spirit
3. Recognize your responsibility
4. Identify specific respectable sins
5. Memorize and apply appropriate Scriptures
6. Cultivate the practice of prayer
7. Involve one or a few other believers with you
Something that is hard for me to grasp and easy to lose sight of is the combination of the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives and our diligence in rooting out our own sin. Ken wrote more on this issue in the previous post over at the church’s blog. But Bridges hints at something I have been learning lately in my own life – that the “flesh will sometimes get the upper hand…as you zero in on a particular sin, your situation may get worse before it gets better…The Holy Spirit will use these times of disobedience and defeat to help you see how deeply rooted your subtle sins are and how totally dependent you are on His power to help you.”
Further, as we go through this life struggling against sin while depending on the Holy Spirit, many times our sins and their accompanying temptations won’t “magically” disappear. As we become more aware of our sin, God will give us opportunities to defeat that sin. After all, if we are not faced with the temptation to certain sins, how will we grow in our faith and in or sanctification? Bridges likens this process to the physical practice of working out or exercising – our muscles do not grow on their own without resistance.
God does not tempt us (James 1:13-14: “Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am being tempted by God,’ for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.”),but he brings into our lives situations designed to make us grow spiritually. Through the sovereign workings of God through the Holy Spirit, we face situations whose results should be a greater, humbler, thankful dependence on Him.