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Broken-Down House Review

May 20, 2011

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Awaiting the Consummation of All Things

Paul Tripp, using the metaphor of the broken down house, wants us to acknowledge that we live in a broken world. However, in the midst of that broken world God has made us a people for his own possession whom He has equipped to live as his representatives in this world. So God works in us, He loves us, and He restores our broken souls while we wait for the consummation of all things.

The book is separated into two parts: knowing and doing. Knowing is designed to help the reader understand what is true about him or her. Doing is designed to encourage the reader to take action steps in light of the knowledge explained in the knowing section. This organization is similar to the one we find in Ephesians—chapters 1-3 as the great truths of what God has done in Christ, followed by chapters 4-6 which emphasize the action steps required. As a result, Broken-Down House is a book that is very easy to use in life and in counseling.   

Understanding Who You Are

Identity is a key issue in our counselees’ lives and in our own lives. Maybe even without full knowledge, our counselees have adopted a view of themselves that is not biblical. Tripp reminds us what happens when we find our identity in something other than the Lord: “I preach to myself the false gospel that my moral system is superior to and more efficient than the one God gave me. I tell myself that I am better off ruling myself than following God. So, motivated by the moral laws of personal wants, needs, and feelings, I step over God’s boundaries, fully aware of the wrong I am doing but committed to doing it anyway” (p. 39). 

Tripp reminds us, as people-helpers, that we must get to an understanding of identity. Our counselees must rest in God’s grace that provides forgiveness, enablement, and deliverance. Without a proper understanding of our identity in Christ, our counselees will not live out Christ in their daily thoughts and actions.

Run to God Rather than to Substitutes

Life is hard. That is reality in a broken world. So what does a person do when life gets hard? All too often the answer is “run to a substitute.” Some bury themselves in endless work, others seek comfort in alcohol, drugs, or illicit relationships, and still others seek joy in material goods. In reality, the only thing that satisfies is the Lord. Thus Tripp explains, “In this broken world you need a place to run for comfort, encouragement, motivation, strength, and rest. There is no better place to run than into the arms of the One who reigns over it all for your sake. No, you won’t always understand. Yes, there will be moments when life will seem overwhelmingly difficult… But in those moments, determine to do this one thing. Determine to run to him and not from him. Run to him with your questions, doubts, confusion, and fear” (p. 61). We need to remember this and then teach it to our counselees.

Remember that When You Are Weak, He Is Strong

There is a desire in our hearts to think we are good enough or strong enough to handle challenges. Eventually that logic comes to ruin.

So Tripp encourages us to remember that, “You are riddled with imperfections, but God is perfect in every way. Therefore, the key to rest is not in continually lying to yourself in a futile effort to convince yourself you are strong. No, it is when you humbly embrace your foolishness, weakness, and sin that you are in the best position to know peace of heart and to live productively in this broken-down house. So let your smallness drive you to the One who alone is great” (p. 75).

Develop Far More Passion for Jesus

Much of the book could be summarized under this heading. When you understand your world, when you understand who you are, and when you understand that God is working in you, that frees you for passionately living for Jesus. This is not only a call to have a genuine relationship with Jesus rather than a “show of spirituality;” it is so much more than that. It’s about being angry about the things God is angry about. It's about serving, developing relationships with other believers, and seeking to leave a legacy for all who follow in your footsteps. After all, “When you lose your sense of gratitude for your acceptance into God’s Kingdom, you will lose your zeal for the work of that Kingdom. And you will live in daily pursuit and daily celebration of the purposes of some other kingdom” (p. 184).

In other words, if we do not develop a passion for Jesus and His kingdom, we will develop a passion for our own kingdom. We Christians could use a higher dose of passion for Jesus and His kingdom than we currently have.

To Help Others…

If you want to help people, then you need to read this book. Let me encourage you to first let it challenge you. Meditate on some of the truths and let the Lord drive them deep into your heart. After you have thought and meditated for a while, share the book and the insights in it with those to whom you minister. Both you and they will be better for it.