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Jerry Bridges wrote The Pursuit of Holiness 25 years ago, and since then it has sold more than one million copies. The Pursuit of Holiness has just been reissued in a 25th anniversary edition. Bridges has written several other books including Joy of Fearing God, The Discipline of Grace, Trusting God, The Practice of Godliness, and many other books. He is a teacher and a member of The Navigators' staff.

Your starting point is that holiness is a partnership with God. You use the illustration of the farmer planting seed but relying on other forces for providing growth. What are some of the ways in which holiness is a cooperative partnership between God and us?

The way I would put that is in terms of what I call the principle of dependent responsibility. We are 100 percent responsible for the pursuit of holiness, but at the same time we are 100 percent dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable us in that pursuit. The pursuit of holiness is not a pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps approach to the Christian life. It's not just try harder. But it's going through the Bible and seeing what God requires of us in the way of obedience to him and likeness to his character, and then setting ourselves to doing that. But at the same time recognizing that we are absolutely dependent upon the Holy Spirit to enable us.

Take the analogy of the farmer. It's obvious that the farmer has certain responsibilities that he must fulfill. But if he's a Christian farmer, and particularly what I'd call a practicing Christian, he knows very well that in the final analysis he is dependent upon God, not just for the providential circumstances of rain and weather and these things, but there's the principle of life in that seed which he has no control over. ...

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April 2004

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