Chapter 12, “Growing through Adversity” pp. 187-208
Bridges makes an important point in this chapter. Adversity is one of the ways God makes us grow in grace. The fruit of the Spirit grows only when we deal with adversity. God, in fact, uses challenges in our lives to accomplish his purpose, whether we understand it or not. Why do we rejoice in our trials? not because they are good but because they show that God is at work for our good.
Bridges discusses how God works through hardships, changing us into his image. God will complete his work as we learn to respond to God, growing in him.
We grow especially as we seek to learn through hardship. We receive God’s work, expecting to learn and grow. We consider our situation in light of God’s Word. we remember adversity and the lessons we learned.
Bridges observes that much hardship in our lives prunes us, making us ready to spend our energies producing good fruit. God also uses adversity to reveal our sinful nature and spur us to a life of holiness. He teaches us to depend on him as we find we cannot rely on ourselves. Bridges uses the apostle Paul as the picture of dependence. We also learn perseverance through our trials. We also learn to press on in acts of love and service to our neighbors. We bring comfort to others, showing that our fellowship is in Christ. Thus we grow in Christ as we love and serve our neighbors, all the while trusting God.