Along with the Bible it is invaluable to have books that help us walk the Christian walk. To be a benefit to those on this journey with us, it is a bonus to have counseling materials that teach us how to help each other. Paul Tripp says, as Christians, we are people in need of change helping people in need of change.
Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands is a valuable addition to this kind of library. Giving us clear insight on how to instruct ourselves and others in authentic worship of our Redeemer, it is a great resource. According to Tripp the heart is always involved in our actions. “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” LK 6:45 Change that ignores the heart will seldom transform the life. We are by nature worshippers, and if we are not worshipping the Lord, we are worshipping some type of idol. An idol of the heart is anything that rules me rather than God ruling me. We can often attend church, hold our beliefs, tithe and even minister while no one even knows that an idol is ruling our heart. Every sinner is a worship thief. Worship belongs to the Creator alone. In idolatry, love that belongs to God is given to someone or something else besides God.
Ps. 51:5 “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, And in sin my mother conceived me..” Something is wrong with my inner self that fundamentally affects the way I operate as a human being. And as sinners when we are sinned against we tend to react. “Sinners tend to respond sinfully to being sinned against.”
Our deepest problem is not experiential, biological, or relational; it is moral, and it alters everything. The first thing sin produces is rebellion. “We must escape the lies of autonomy, self-sufficiency, worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.” We need more from scripture than insight, principles, understanding or direction. The Bible is not a self- help book. We don’t use it to find the answers to what we want, the way we want it. We must know that the Redeemer lived, died, and rose again so that we would no longer live for ourselves, but for him and His glory. Glory belongs to the Lord, not to us.
We do have a way of escape. Our loving Savior seeks to sanctify us, and conform us to His image. And he uses other people in our lives to do it. He also uses us in others’ lives. God transforms peoples’ lives as people bring his Word to others.
Paul Tripp explains four steps to accomplishing this:
Love – First we build relationships with the people around us by entering their worlds. The foundation of a relationship with the Lord is love. People need to receive this love from us, before we can ever help them in coming to the Lord or the process of growing in the Lord.
- God’s redemptive activity always takes place within relationships.
- God’s first step in changing us is to draw us into relationship with Him.
- Our relationships are essential to the work God is completing in us and in others.
Know – Next we make sure we get to know the person before we can help them. We ask questions. Good open ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer. We make sure our conclusions are correct, not just based on assumptions. These questions will aid the person in reflecting on what is going on in their lives and developing solutions.
Speak – Then once we’ve assessed the situation, we need to speak the truth. Eph. 4:15 “..speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.” Scripture tells us to speak the truth in love. “Love for God is the only reliable foundation for a ministry of truth speaking. Any other motivation distorts the process. We cannot come in anger, frustration, or a spirit of vengeance.” The last thing a person needs is my opinion or faulty emotion. Our conversation should lead a person to confession and change.
Do - Finally the steps of Love, Know, and Speak should lead our friend to Do what it takes to be in right relationship with the Lord. By knowing and understanding who the Lord is, and by learning to abide in the vine (Jesus), our friends will come to maturity. Coming along side your friend and providing loving accountability will be invaluable to those who want help walking on the right path with the Lord.
These steps will make our relationships with our brothers and sisters closer and more treasured as we learn to know and grow together in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. This book is filled with scenarios and practical advice to accomplish this goal. It will benefit anyone who desires to be instrumental in the progress of growth in those the Lord has placed in their lives.
Book review written by Diane Caston