Here are some quick thoughts on Paul Tripp’s Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands. I love this book for several reasons. In Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Tripp explores the practical applications of the belief that we must not simply offer people a system of redemption, a set of insights and principles – but offer the redeemer. Tripp argues that counselors are instruments in the redeemer’s hands, being used to bring about change. In my opinion, the sections that emphasize community as the context for change, and asking the right questions to get at the heart of a matter, are the most compelling portions of the book.
Tripp rightly argues that “personal insight is the product of community. I need you in order to really see and know myself…If I am going to see myself clearly, I need you to hold the mirror of God’s Word in front of me.” (54) Again, “God transforms people’s lives as people bring his Word to others . . . . The combination of powerful truth wrapped in self-sacrificing love is what God uses to transform people” (21). God’s purpose is for relationships to be the setting/environment/etc. in which his work of change can thrive.
The sections of the book exploring how the heart relates to particular struggles are an excellent resource for counselors and pastors. From my experience, the guiding questions that outline Tripp’s method have been very helpful in pastoral counseling sessions, teaching, and preaching – especially in exploring the deeper issues of the heart.
- Our hearts are always being ruled by something.
- The most important question: “what is ruling your heart in this particular situation?”
- God changes us not by teaching us different things, but by recapturing our hearts.
- The deepest issues of humanity are worship issues. What rules your heart?
I believe that Tripp is most helpful in unearthing heart issues by teaching one to ask the right questions. He argues that “…asking good questions is doing the work of change. Through them, we give sight to blind eyes and understanding to dull minds, we soften hardened hearts, encourage flagging souls, and stir hunger that can only be filled by the truth.” (173).