Outside of Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands, Broken Down House was my favorite book written by Paul Tripp. I believe he actually accomplished two tasks simultaneously.
- First, this book gives hope to those who are struggling. Paul acknowledges the brokenness of our world and the challenges we have with our own sin, but he also emphasizes the hope we have in Christ. The hope found in Christ not only allows us to suffer well, but it also provides the strength and courage to a life of productivity by God’s grace.
- Second, this book challenges those of us who are “satisfied.” There should be, according to Tripp, a healthy spiritual “dissatisfaction” where each believer understands there is additional growing to do. We need to be more passionate for Christ, we need to be “busier” about the right things, and we need to celebrate and live in the grace of God all the time.
In order to accomplish these two tasks 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 part one.
In knowing, all of us are equated to a broken down house in the middle of a restoration project. We have real hurts and genuine struggles, but we also have a God who through His grace is making us more like Christ. In other words, we have hope despite the brokenness of our world and the brokenness of our own hearts.
For Tripp this hope is generated when we understand that we are a child of grace. Grace provides forgiveness, enablement, and deliverance. Grace has forever changed our identity. Practically speaking this means that we should run to the Lord and enjoy his rest in the midst of this life even if we experience painful circumstances. In other words, we run to Christ because it is in Christ that we have our identity and it is in Christ that we find the enablement to live life in a manner pleasing to God.
Tripp explains that the next logical step is that people need to understand their limits with regard to wisdom, control, and righteousness. It is a delightful reminder to cling to God who has all wisdom, is in complete control, and who is righteousness. Truth claims come at you constantly. You simply cannot trust yourself to be the almighty discerner. Instead, trust what is sure, the Word of God, and be ready for opportunities that he brings your way.
In the final chapters regarding “knowing” Tripp reminds his readers that there is an eternal aspect to all of Christianity. This life was never meant to satisfy. The restoration project does is not complete until the return of Jesus. Waiting for that day does not mean inactivity, but it does mean that we should be thinking, praying, and working toward the future kingdom rather than seeking to build a kingdom of our own.
The second section of the book is dedicated to “doing” in the midst of living in the middle of our restoration. “Doing” has many different aspects and Tripp highlights the following list:
- Serve Christ to the best of your ability.
- Live life in community since God never designed us to function alone.
- Love others like Christ does, as much as possible.
- Celebrate the wonderful grace of God in your life.
- Live now in such a way that you will leave a spiritual legacy to those who follow
Uses of this book:
I believe there are two primary uses of this book. The first use is for counselors. The better you understand the knowing section the more questions you can be prepared to ask your counselees. For example, “When your counselees are discouraged, what do they do?” Are your counselee’s givers of grace? If not, may it be in part because they have not properly understood God’s grace for them? Do your counselees believe that this life is all there is to offer and are thus discouraged about the condition of their “house”?
A second use of this book is small group Bible studies in your church. The thoughts and challenges offered are not the typical sermon style teaching. Thus, the book can complement what the pastor is already doing during corporate worship.