Here are my thoughts on this final chapter in the book:
1. What have I found helpful/insightful in this chapter?
Our Identity is in Christ! Tripp brings out in this penultimate chapter that we need to identify ourselves in Christ, because we also are people in need of change. We are adopted into the family of God because we are all in Christ. Paul describes it in Ephesians 2:6-7
“And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
We have life because we are in Christ. The other image that is useful to remember is Jesus’ saying “I am the true vine”. He is the vine and we are the branches, for he is the roots in which we live. “As people pursue the process of lifelong change, they need to live out of a gospel identity.” P260. That is the key. As people change, their Identity is in Christ.
The other insightful thing that came out the chapter is providing accountability. Tripp describes it as this: “Accountability requires a willingness to roll up our sleeves and get alongside people as they fight the war between sin and righteousness” P268
We are meant to walk people through the difficulties of their faith. It is a bit more than then seeing them once in a while and seeing if they are alright! We need to get alongside people who we have in our care. The example that comes to mind is the Congregational pastors. They need to really get to know their people (Chapter 10) and then work with them through their walks of faith. Tripp continues “God calls us to the same ministry by the power of the Holy Spirit. He calls us to stand with people as the step out in faith, obedience and courage. This is the ministry of accountability.” P 269. He the lists what Accountability provides which are:
Accountability provides structure.
Accountability provides guidance.
Accountability provides assistance
Accountability provides encouragement
Accountability provides warning.
The final part of the book brings out the 8 core truths of being an ambassador and I hope that they will apply to my ministry:
1. We need God and his truth to live as we were meant to live. (2 Tim 3:16-17)
2. Each of us has been called by God to be an instrument of change in the lives of others.
3. Our behaviour is rooted in the thoughts and motives of our hearts.
4. Christ has called us to be his ambassadors, following his message, methods, and character (2 Corth 5:14-21)
5. Being an instrument of change involves incarnating the love of Christ by sharing in people’s struggles, identifying with their suffering, and extending God’s grace as we call them to change.
6. Being an instrument of changes means, seeking to know people by guarding against false assumptions, asking good questions, and interpreting information in a distinctly Biblical way.
7. Being an instrument of change means speaking the truth in love.
8. Being an instrument of change means helping people do what God has called them to do by clarifying responsibility, offering loving accountability and reminding them of their identity in Christ.
2. How will what I’ve read apply to my preaching ministry or counselling?
I pray that in my ministry I will apply in both my preaching and my counselling what Tripp says “LOVING as Christ loved us, and going beyond the casual to really KNOW people. It is loving others enough to SPEAK the truth to them, helping them see themselves in the mirror of God’s Word. And it is standing with others; helping them to DO what God has called them to do” P274
3. Next time we meet, I would like to discuss… Who are the people we are accountable to, and in what ways we can help them all in their journey of faith?