Instruments, Part 3

The discussion of the heart and the two forms of treasure in Chapter Four set up the argument in Chapter Five that the battle for the heart of man is indeed a war: a war between Christ and his Word and sin and self. Conflict, Tripp states, “is one of the principal effects of the Fall” (75). While dealing with this issue, Tripp makes one of the most vital points in the entire book: “Human conflict is rooted in spiritual adultery” (82). Problems of anger, jealousy, co-dependency, all struggles of the human heart, flow from an affair of the heart against the Bridegroom who gave himself for us. Tripp states that when people are involved in spiritual adultery, it affects the relationship with God in two important ways.

The first way he describes the relationship being damaged is that spiritual adultery changes the attitude of one in prayer. Instead of going to God and praying according to His will, people will instead approach God like a spiritual genie-in-a-bottle to whom they should express wants and demands. Not only will our attitudes toward prayer change, but according to Tripp, our image of god will change dramatically. Tripp states, “If a certain set of desires rules my heart, I will not want God to be a wise, loving, sovereign Father who gives me what he knows is best. Instead, I will want a divine waiter who delivers what I have set my heart on” (83).

While Tripp does paint a sad picture of humanity and the struggle for the heart of man, he spends the remainder of the chapter sharing with the reader how the Heavenly Father is also the “Warrior King,” who is full of “jealous grace” and will do whatever it takes to capture the heart of man. Tripp encourages the reader to remember that God knows humanity better than any other being in the universe because he is the Creator and, as Creator, he knows exactly what is best for us, whether we know it or not.

The first five chapters of Instruments are concerned primarily with explaining to the reader why a radical change is necessary within the hearts of man and within the church at large. Chapter Six transitions the reader from the “why” questions of radical change to the “how” questions. The first step to being an effective instrument of change is to follow the example of the Wonderful Counselor. Tripp states that “being an instrument of heart change means following Christ’s example and focusing on the heart—starting with your own” (96). In order to experience a personal heart change, one must first understand the true impact of the Incarnation and its effect of life even today. Tripp explains that while the actual Incarnation was an event, it is also a current agenda and call. The call on the life of each Christian is to be an ambassador on Christ’s behalf in the lives of all those with whom we come into contact each day. In order to be an ambassador for Christ though, Tripp explains that people must first relinquish their desires to be mini-kings over their own lives. Tripp shows the reader that “living a representative lifestyle can be summarized by three points of focus. As an ambassador, I will represent:… The message of the King…The methods of the King… [and] the character of the King” (107). This way of looking at and interacting with the world around us will greatly impact how we interact with the people in that world.

Tripp concludes Chapter Six with a summary of the things instruments of change must keep in mind while ministering. Tripp encourages the reader to remember two points when beginning in the ministering experience: “First, whatever you do must have the goal of heart change. Second, whatever you do must follow the example of the Wonderful Counselor” (109). He then shares with the reader the biblical model for a successful ministry of change. In order to be genuinely involved in the lives of those around us, Tripp argues that we must include these four elements in ministry: Love, Know, Speak, and Do. As instruments of change, the body of Christ must Love one another as Christ loved the church; we must know one another in trusting and intimate ways so that we can properly hold one another accountable; we must Speak the Truth of God’s Word into the lives of the broken and hurting; and, finally, we must Do something with the Truth that has been imparted to us. The remainder of Instruments in the Hands of the Redeemer examines each of these four points in greater detail.

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