Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, by Paul David Tripp, presents a remarkable and refreshingly biblical approach to achieving change in people’s lives. It is a book that addresses the deep needs of those who are acutely suffering, but also every one of us as it teaches us to minister in a biblical way, one unto another.
Tripp lays a good foundation by explaining who we are in God’s creation, what the effects of sin are on every one of us, and why we need Jesus. The book gets its title as he explains how we are each used as an instrument of Christ to work his redemption in the lives of others. In turn, others are used as instruments of change in our lives. He powerfully ties this into our role as God’s ambassadors who are incarnating Christ at every moment.
Another of the categorical differences between this book and other approaches to life-change is the focus on the significance of the heart as the source of our sin and broken lives. The heart becomes the target for change as it is compared with scripture and God’s will for us to glorify him and enjoy him.
After preparing the foundation, Tripp spends the majority of the book describing a model for building relationships and actually being the instrument God uses to work change in people’s lives. The model is called “Love, Know, Speak, Do.” Love is the over-arching and motivating part of the equation. It encompasses God’s love for us as well as our love for one another. Know is the process of developing deep and caring relationships, through which change and mutual admonition can happen. Speak deals with truth and the need for godly and loving confrontation, not just in the big things, but as a natural and organic part of our corporate lives. Finally, Do is concerned with action, responsibility, and accountability for the long haul.
His instruction is thorough, comprehensive, and detailed. It is also very practical, with specific examples and suggestions about how to implement each of the four aspects of the model. Without reservation, I recommend this book to anyone who is in formal counseling or discipling relationships, but also to anyone who wants greater insight into his own heart and who wants to more fully reflect Christ to others.