Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands by Paul David Tripp
I admit, I have been reading this book for awhile. It is RICH in content and I wanted to drink it all in, without skipping over, skimming or letting it fly by without comprehension. I wanted to soak all that yummy wisdom up.
The subtitle of the book is "People in Need of Change Helping People in Need of Change." While I definitely heard positive reviews of the book and recommendations for it, I thought about all the HOPE groupers, people in our church, college girl mentees, young marrieds and new moms who I minister to that I could possibly minister BETTER to. More than anything it really blew me away how much I don't know. I'm sure I won't be able to flesh it all out during one naptime, so bear with me, this may take several weeks.
Let's start with this: "Sinners respond sinfully to being sinned against."
We're going to sin and we're going to be sinned against. That's a given. Our only help is a Redeemer. Encouragement won't get us where we need to be. Suggestions for change won't do it. We are fundamentally flawed and bent toward sin and need a Redeemer, so let's start there.
Colossians 2:8 says, "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depend on human tradition and the basic principles of this world and not on Christ."
The world has fix-alls for everything these days. They are probably easier but they don't deal with the root of the problem. Our hearts. They may even work for awhile, but they are far from a long term fix. More often than not we often tend to keep it to ourselves, isolate our problems and convince ourselves no perspective is more reliable than our own. That's called foolishness. Check it out:
"The fool says in his heart, 'There is no God'" Psalm 14:1
That's what we are saying when we are replacing God's wisdom with our own. God transforms OUR hearts and then uses us to bring His Word into OTHERS' lives. When I think about our church body, I know there are so many testimonies of how the Lord has brought people out of sin and changed them, making them completely new and beautiful creations. God did that! He wants to use that to transform others, too!
"What is the hope here? It is the hope of the kingdom. The King has come and sent his children to one another with his life-changing Word. People who were lost find their way; people once paralyzed with discouragement walk in hope; alienated people live in community as broken relationships are restored; confused minds think in ways that are true, pure and right; and the person who once lived for his own power now rests in God's. God's rain waters the roots of the heart, and the person's life bursts forth with new fruitfulness. This is the way of the Lord, the hope and work of his kingdom."
Isaiah 55:10-13 puts it this way:
As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD's renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed."
God's desire is CHANGE and he wants to use US. This isn't about worldly strategies, solutions or fix-alls, it's about the Redeemer and it's about heart change. Will you daily function as a tool of lasting change for God?
And that's just the first 2 chapters! Stay tuned!