Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands - by Tripp, Paul David.
New Jersey: P & R Publishing, 2002. 348 pp.
Reviewed by Jayme Stiles, wife of TMS student, Ken Stiles
Have you ever received a phone call from a friend asking for counsel and you just did not know the right words to say, or even the necessary approach to take? I certainly have, and my desire to be able to counsel biblically in these types of situations is what led me to read Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands by Paul David Tripp.
Tripp describes his book as a “call to live a daily ministry lifestyle rooted in God’s Word” (p.271). He points out that all Christians counsel others whether they realize it or not. Given this fact, he encourages us to counsel using the Gospel since, “change is possible because the King has come” (p. 6). The author introduces four important elements of biblical ministry: love, know, speak, and do. He provides practical ways to implement each element in the Christian’s daily life.
I was convicted by Tripp’s exhortation to humbly examine our own hearts for sin before confronting another person. He states, “Proper biblical confrontation is never motivated by impatience, frustration, hurt, or anger” (p. 208). He also points out that we who desire to give wise counsel need God’s grace just as much as the people we are helping, which is another humbling thought. This book is filled with practical counseling wisdom for any Christian, including questions for targeting heart motives, strategies for data gathering, and much more!
The book’s message is summarized by Tripp’s statement, “Personal ministry is not about always knowing what to say. It is not about fixing everything in sight that is broken. Personal ministry is about connecting people with Christ so that they are able to think as He would have them think, desire what He says is best, and do what He calls them to do even if their circumstances never get ‘fixed’” (p.184).
I would highly recommend this book to any Christian who desires to be better equipped to counsel biblically. It has helped to change my view of counseling from focusing on people’s circumstances to focusing on their attitudes and responses in the midst of the circumstances.