We might be relieved if God placed our sanctification only in the hands of trained professionals, but that is not his plan. Instead, through the ministry of every part of the body, the whole church will mature in Christ. Paul David Tripp helps us discover where change is needed in our own lives and the lives of others. Following the example of Jesus, Tripp reveals how to get to know people, and how to lovingly speak truth to them. Comprehensive treatment of how God uses people as tools of change in the lives of others, people who themselves are in need of change. In many ways, the church today has more consumers than committed participants. We see church merely as an event we attend or an organization we belong to, rather than as a calling that shapes our entire life. Tripp explains how his work follows an “all of my people, all of the time” model. If you followed the Lord for a thousand years, you would still need the ministry of the body of Christ as much as you did the day you first believed. This need will remain until our sanctification is complete in history.
About the Author
This book came to my rescue as I began a difficult counseling situation. Paul David Tripp powerfully unfolds biblical principles for how "people in need of change" (like me) can help "people in need of change" (others). This gospel-centered book begins by describing "the best of news" which gives us "a reason to get up in the morning." This news "is not freedom from hardship, suffering and loss. It is the news of a Redeemer who has come to rescue me from MYSELF" (p. 16). It is the news of a God who deals with sin and its paralyzing effects in our lives.
Tripp then discusses how "God transforms people's lives as people bring his Word to others" (p. 19). We are tools in the Master's hands, and His desire is to use us to speak the truth in love to others, so as to further His transforming work in their lives. This only happens as His Word is seen as more than an encyclopedia of answers to our problems, but as "a narrative, a story of redemption, [with] its chief character . . . Jesus Christ" (p. 27). The sovereignty, grace, and glory of God are seen as the "rebar" running through the pages of Scripture, the themes which give strength and meaning to its message - and to our lives, if we will align ourselves with it.
Central to the development of this book is the conviction that "human beings by their very nature are WORSHIPERS" (p. 44). This defines who we are. The question is whether we worship God or idols. In fact, "stolen worship is at the core of what is wrong with fallen human beings" (p. 45). All of our personal troubles and trials spring out of this "worship disorder." Stress and burnout, depression and anger, breakdowns in relationships, and the disintegeration of family are all fruits springing from this one root: a heart that does not worship God. Therefore, the heart is the target in all personal ministry to others.
Jesus, the Wonderful Counselor, came to redeem and transform human hearts. And following His model, we are called to bring His redemptive word to others. This involves four basic steps: love, know, speak, do. These steps are unfolded in extremely practical ways with lots of personal stories and illustrations. Tripp trains us how to love people the way Jesus does, how to gather information about their lives so as to understand their hearts; and how to speak the truth in love to them so that they can change in in both heart and life to the glory of God. This is an excellent book which I highly recommend, especially to pastors and counselors.