Instruments, Part 2

Focusing from the beginning on the need for change and for God in our lives may lead many to bristle and quickly defend that there needs to be no help shown to them in their lives. Tripp faces this argument head-on in Chapter Three. Going back to the very beginning of time, he proves to the reader that, whether it is admitted or not, all people are desperately in need of help. According to Tripp, there are several universal concepts that apply to mankind. First is the fact that humans were created to be dependent. This first statement goes against much of what the culture today teaches, but Tripp states that, “Genesis 1 confronts us with the fact that our need for help preceded sin… If there had been no Fall, if we had never sinned, we would still need help because we are human” (41).

The second universal quality of all humans, Tripp says, is that mankind was made to interpret. He states that man is not a machine that simply takes in facts, but rather man interprets, or thinks through, those facts and makes choices based more on the interpretation of facts rather than the facts themselves. Tripp argues that the only correct way to interpret any event in life is through the lens of God’s word (41).

Lastly, Tripp states that all people were created to worship. Whether we are worshiping God, ourselves, or something or someone else (45), all of mankind is in the act of worship at all times.

Tripp concludes this chapter by explaining that because all people are sinful, dependent, interpreting worshipers, then the only logical conclusion is that all people are also in need of some form of counseling and all people are counseling, or influencing, other people on a daily basis.

How does one ensure that the counsel being both given and received is, in fact, solid counsel? Tripp states in Chapter Four that the process of ensuring one counsels and receives counsel correctly begins in the heart. The word heart, for this discussion, refers to the Scriptural explanation: “the inner person (spirit, soul, mind emotions, will, etc.)” (59). The central discussion of this chapter relates to the thesis because, in order for a radical change to occur in people, one must know where and how to start the change. Tripp argues that change begins in the human heart. “One of the most important word pictures in the New Testament reveals Christ’s perspective on how people function. It is Christ’s answer to the age-old question, “Why do people do the things they do?”” (60).

In Luke 6:43-45, Jesus compares people to trees, explaining that the fruit in our lives is the behavior exhibited, and the heart is the root system that feeds the tree and influences the production of behavior. Tripp expands this illustration clearly and thoroughly throughout the remainder of the chapter, explaining to the reader both how most people attempt to “change” their fruit (a process he calls “fruit stapling”) and how the Scripture explains true change occurs. Change only occurs on a real, permanent level when the one receiving counsel comes to realize that “sin is much more than doing the wrong thing. It begins with loving, worshiping, and serving the wrong thing” (67).

Tripp contends that because humanity is created with a need to worship that all people will choose to worship something. The key to ministry is helping people see the error in their choices to worship created things instead of the Creator. Not only are people worshippers, but people are also treasure hunters, and Tripp tells his reader clearly that “there are only two kinds of treasures, earthly and heavenly and whatever we choose will become our rulers” (72). He concludes by stating, “The things we set our hearts on never remain under our control. Instead, they capture, control, and enslave us” (73). The point being that one can either be controlled by Christ and His heavenly treasure, or controlled by “earth-bound treasures” and therefore reap the consequences of that choice.

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