Friday, January 31, 2020


I have currently stopped reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges. Here's why:

As I read this book, he keeps calling the emotions sin. Anger is sin, discontentment is sin, anxiety is sin, and so on. But to me, it is not the emotion that is sin, but the way that we respond to it.

Sometimes, God is portrayed as angry. Is He sinning? No, for God does not sin. Does that mean that different rules apply to Him? No.

I don't want to feel guilty for experiencing God-given emotions. But that is the result if I keep hearing that the sin is the emotion. Can we stop from being angry? If we see someone murdered or abused, should we not feel anger? If someone sneaks up on us, should we not feel anxiety or fear?

So at this point, my choice is to stop, even though this book has made some excellent points and I have learned from it. Maybe it is something I will come back to later.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Impatience and Irritability

I am currently reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

Chapter 14 - Impatience and Irritability

        • Frequently displayed more within the family dynamic than without. 
        • If patience is a virtue, impatience is sin.
        • Irritability = frequent impatience.
        • Two options are given for dealing with an irritable person.
          • Follow the example of Jesus
          • Confrontation, but done for their benefit, not just yours
Not sure that I see impatience as sin. I think it is more about how we deal eith feelings of impatience. But I can say that for several other issues in the book as well. It is a fine line.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Thoughts on Aaron Rodgers interview with Danica Patrick

  • Aaron was intrigued by Matt Hawk because he was a Christian, yet he swears and he loves and coaches sports. Makes me wonder what kind of Christians he had interaction with prior to meeting this guy. While cursing is not something I prefer to hear Christians (or anyone else for that matter) do, it is an imperfection that many Christians possess. As far as loving and coaching sports, if he thought that was out of bounds for Christians, no wonder he has struggled with faith as it was portrayed to him.
  • I love how he sees his mission trips as "really meaningful." But again, in light of how he perceived Christianity, I would love to know 2 things: ONE-What was your reason for going on these trips? TWO: How has this experience impacted your spirituality today?
  • I understand your not having connection with certain Christian groups, especially if your view of Christianity growing up was skewed. It is hard to separate what we learned about Christianity growing up and what Jesus really taught about how his followers should live. I appreciate your efforts to search out what it really means to be a spiritual being. 
  • I question your statement that "rules and regulations and binary systems don't really resonate with me." Sounds like your upbringing was at least somewhat legalistic, if not very strongly legalistic. I question if you really had a balanced view of Christianity. I also though, think it is dangerous to reject God because those things do not resonate with you. I can't get out of a ticket by telling an officer, "That speed limit really does not resonate with me."
  • If you look at Jesus, and you look at the church you went to on Sunday mornings, the two don't match up. Jesus did not reject the outcast, in fact, he rejected those who looked down on the outcast. Sounds like your Monday evenings were more in line with that than your church experience.
  • I agree with your distaste for a binary system like the one you described. But the picture of the the Christian in the Bible is not like what you experienced. You describe those who take pride in their position with God. The Bible speaks of approaching God with humility, with fear and trembling. We love God and we love others because of God's grace and love for us. We don't look down on anyone because of their sin. Anyone. 
  • Again, approaching God in humility goes along with your statement, "I don't know how you can believe in a god who wants to condemn most of the planet." In your view, it seems that God has created us just to destroy us. But perhaps rather than wonder why God does not save all, humility says "Why would He save any?" Look what we have done, how we have rejected Him and His righteousness. The fact that He would send Jesus to die for even one who would accept Him then takes on an amazing facet of grace.
  • You mention only 144,000 being saved. Is that what your church taught?
Aaron, I can resonate with some of your feelings. I have had a variety of church experiences, many of which have not been pleasant or representative of Jesus. But I pray that as you continue to dig into what truth is, you will be led to see that perhaps your current views about God and religion are not in line with what is taught by Jesus, his disciples, and the Bible.

Self Control

I am currently reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

Chapter 13 - Self Control

What role does self control play in the life of the Christian? Aren't we supposed to let God be in control of all things? I that is completely true, then why is self-control on of the fruit of the Spirit? (Galatians 5:23) Why is Titus told to tech self control? (Titus 2:2,5,6)

But I thought that God would free me from temptations and take my sinful urges from me. But that has not completely worked yet, at least for me. I think of my experience with AA and the 12 steps. While working in ministry I was invited to attend some meetings and exposed to their program. One of their sayings in reference to the programs goes something like this, "Keep working it (the steps, the program), it works if you work it." I have talked to folks involved in the program. Some will say that the desire to drink has passed from them. Others still struggle. Same with some Christians. I recall talking to one man who was sharing that he used to have a foul mouth, but one day God took that from him. No more desire to curse. Does that mean he lived a sin-free life from that point? No. God does play a part. But we do too. And for those sins that God does not remove from us, we must exercise some level of self control. I believe it is called sanctification.

This self-control is dependent on the influence and enablement of the Holy Spirit. It requires continual exposure of our mind to the words of God and continual prayer for the Holy Spirit to give us both the desire and power to exercise self-control. We might say that self-control is not control by oneself through one’s own willpower but rather control of oneself through the power of the Holy Spirit.  Bridges, Jerry. Respectable Sins (p. 107). NavPress. Kindle Edition. 

So our struggles are not without purpose. It would seem that they are there to ground us in our faith, and it in our dependence on God, His Spirit, and His word. 

Monday, January 27, 2020


I am currently reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

Chapter 11, Pride

One of the problems with pride is that we can see it in others but not in ourselves.

Bridges, Jerry. Respectable Sins (p. 85). NavPress. Kindle Edition. 

Some ideas from the chapter:

          • Seek an attitude of humility
          • Set your heart to study the law of the Lord
          • Hold your convictions (doctrinal beliefs) with humility
          • Do not boast in possessions or abilities, for God is ultimately in control
          • Remain teachable and submissive to Biblical authority

Friday, January 24, 2020

Thanks or No Thanks?

I am currently reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

This chapter (10) deals with unthankfulness.

He begins the chapter referencing the time Jesus healed ten lepers, and only one (a Samaritan at that!), returned to give thanks.

How could that be? Did they not recognize the healing they had just been given? How could you be a leper one moment, healed the next, and not be thankful? Maybe they were. Maybe it happened later. Maybe they just didn't go back to thank Jesus. Maybe they were afraid of the consequence of thanking him (from the religious leaders), lots of maybes I will never know.

This chapter to me, speaks to one of the key elements stressed in Reformed Theology that I missed before, and that is the idea that it is not what we have to offer God that matters, it is what he has given us. I cannot live a life good enough to earn God's favor or salvation, but I can be thankful of what He has done.

Is not giving thanks a sin? I think it is more than that. I think not being thankful brings our very salvation into question. Not being thankful has an air of arrogance, pride, as if what we have been given is expected from God, the least He can do. Like with the Pharisee and the tax-collector. But we know it was the tax-collector who walked away justified.

Thursday, January 23, 2020


I am currently reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

This chapter (9) deals with discontentment. 

I find it interesting that he feels there is a place for discontentment in the life of the Christian, but not fear or anxiety. Yet all of these are God given emotions or reactions to situations that God has placed in our lives.

I agree that discontentment can lead to sin, but I struggle with the idea that discontentment in itself is sin. Discontentment should lead to a critical evaluation of our situation. Wallowing in discontentment is not a good or appropriate response. 

I think that sometimes we think that God wants us to blindly accept whatever He lays before us with a smile painted on our faces. I disagree. I think God is okay with our questions. I think He enjoys it when we lay our burdens before Him. Not in a sadistic way, but because He loves us and wants us to interact honestly with Him. The author mentions Job. Job was a man who had it all and lost it all. What a short book it would be if Job had just painted on a smile and accepted it. But Job struggled, even argued with God. And Job grew through that process. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Anxiety and Frustration

I am currently reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

Not sure I agree with the labeling of anxiety and frustration as sin, but maybe that is due to a lack of understanding on my part. (Chapter 8)

I feel anxiety, frustration, fear, happiness, sadness, and many other emotions at times. I don't believe I am in control of the initial feelings, but what I am in control of is the response to those feelings. " Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger." (Eph. 4:26 ESV) It is not anger that is sin, but how I handle it. Emotions, in my opinion, are a gift from God. Does not fear protect us? Is not the beginning of wisdom fear? I believe it is good for us to recognize and identify our feelings, and to not let our emotions get the best of us. 

Bridges asks toward the end of the chapter, Can you picture Jesus ever being anxious or frustrated? My answer is yes, I think so. What about in the temple with the selling of animals for sacrifice? What about in the garden when he was in agony and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down on the ground? I believe that the sin is not in the emotion itself, but rather can be found in inappropriate reaction to those emotions. I think we would both agree that our response to feelings and emotions always needs to focus on God rather than ourselves.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Right verses Righteous

I am currently reading the book, Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

Thoughts after reading Chapter 7

Is it possible to do right, yet be unrighteous? I believe it is. There are many people who do not believe in Jesus who are what the world would call "good people." But just being good without recognizing our dependence on God is not righteousness, it is just doing right. Jesus did not die so that we would do right. In fact, one might say that to do right without depending on God is actually ungodliness.

We are not only to eat to the glory of God, we are to drive to the glory of God, we are to shop to the glory of God, and we are to engage in our social relationships to the glory of God. Everything we do is to be done to the glory of God. That is the mark of a godly person.
Bridges, Jerry. Respectable Sins (p. 51). NavPress. Kindle Edition. 

I think of the parable of the wise and foolish builders. Two buildings (lives?) that looked the same (good deeds?) But one had no foundation, so it eventually crumbled. The other, with the rock for its foundation (godliness?) survived. 

So then, righteousness is the overflow of a heart that is focused on God. Perfect righteousness? Don't fool yourself. But righteousness none the less. And a righteousness that is focused on God will be a righteousness that will grow (sanctification). 

Sunday, January 19, 2020

Context of the Gospel

Back again. Took a hiatus while I recovered from a couple of surgeries (knee and hip replaced).

Back to Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges.

The first direction is that we should always address our sin in the context of the gospel.
Bridges, Jerry. Respectable Sins (p. 41). NavPress. Kindle Edition. 

Okay, so let's talk about what the gospel is for a moment, because although this word is often used, I think it has different meanings to different people. To some it is a formula. 5 steps, Romans Road, etc. It is something we do or a plan we follow to accomplish the goal of heaven. Not to me.

The gospel is the good news that Jesus has paid the full price for my disobedience. If I understand that, and if I repent (another word that is often used, and perhaps has many different meanings as well), my debt is paid. Repentance being that the good news of the gospel penetrates my heart, and I begin to live with a new focus in my life, surrendering the "me" and loving and living for Him.

So, the context of the gospel is not about stopping sinning, as if that is just another step in the process. It is about the reason behind the stopping. The context of the gospel is that my debt has been paid, and I now life for Christ. So I address my sin because of what Christ has done, and not focused on the sin as a obstacle to be overcome.