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I'm Okay, You're Okay? Not so much.

Posted in Books, Fellowship, Godly speech, Gospel, Grace, Life in the Church, Relationships, Sanctification

Paul Tripp's book Instruments in the Redeemer's Hands was written to help Christians counsel other Christians. While there is certainly a place for professional counseling, the book underscores the idea that most of our giving and receiving of counsel will not be in the therapist's office, but in living rooms, coffee shops, church lobbies, offices, classrooms, and grocery stores. All day we are listening to and giving counsel. The question is, are we doing that well?

Our counsel is not to be generic good advice that helps people be successful and feel good about themselves. Instead, our counsel is to be a conduit of the grace of God. Grace does lead to success and feeling good about ourselves, but not in the way that Dr. Phil, Oprah, or whomever is the latest pop psychologist tells us. Paul Tripp gives this insight about grace that is critical to the counsel we give:

"The grace that adopts me into Christ's family is not a grace that says I am okay. In fact, the Bible is clear that God extends his grace to me because I am everything but okay. As we enter God's family, we are in need of radical personal change. God's acceptance is not a call to relax, but a call to work. Paul says in Titus 2:11-12, "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say 'No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age." The grace God extends to us is always grace leading to change. His acceptance is not the end of his work; it is the beginning! Our justification must never be separated from our sanctification. They are two parts of a seamless work of redemption" (158).

So, when we speak to others we need to understand that I'm not okay, and neither are you. But that's okay, because there is the grace of God. Grace allows us to say that we're not okay, but God is at work in our lives to bring "radical personal change."

When we have the opportunity to speak into the life of another, let us remember that their most significant need is "the grace of God that brings salvation." This is grace that accepts us, but is also "grace leading to change."

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