September 4, 2010

People in Need of Change

Let me just get straight to the point with this review: Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp is a book I believe every Christian needs to read; I cannot recommend it highly enough. In his book, Tripp takes Scripture and the Gospel and applies it to life in such a way that everything we thought we knew about counseling and ministry is turned upside down.

In the first part of the book, Tripp dispels the notion that ministry and are primarily done by ministers. The truth is instead, that most of this is done by the "normal" Christians as they come into contact with friends, family, and others who are going through difficult situations. The counseling and ministry comes as those people seek help and an ear from us. Secondly, he rejects the idea that changing behavior is our goal. Every issue is a heart issue and, therefore, our goal in every situation should be to see the heart changed through the Holy Spirit's work in us. Thirdly, he counters the view of many that the Bible is simply an encyclopedia of counsel or, in other words, a book which we come to looking for advice on a specific topic. To the contrary, we need to see what the Bible says as a whole, taking into account its view of God, man, sin and the world, and from there we begin to apply its message to our specific situation. The last thing I'll mention that Tripp talks about in this section is the idea of incarnational living. We are to be Christ and represent the Gospel in what we say and do in various situations.

In the second part of the book, Tripp lays out his plan for biblically counseling others, which he summarizes in four steps: love, know, speak and do. Before anything, we are to love the other person or people we are counseling, as Christ loves them. We are to get to know them well and have an understanding of their situation lest we simply throw verses or advice at them that may not actually be helpful. Then, once we have gathered information about the situation, we are to lovingly confront the people involved (confrontation here is not meant to be seen in light of its present negative connotation, but instead in it positive biblical meaning). Lastly, once the person has responded to the correction, it is necessary to have a plan of action to deal with the problem. This process is lengthy and hard, but it is biblical and right. And as we help people we too will be helped because everyone of us are, as the subtitle says, people in need of change.

Once again, I just encourage you to read this book and see how God uses broken vessels like us to be His instruments in accomplishing His glorious will.


iMollie said...

Probably shouldn't have read this until after I finished the book, but good review. I'm looking forward to finishing the rest of it!



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