It will definitely take two posts to cover March’s book study on Broken Down House by Paul David Tripp. The premise is that since sin has ravaged the world that God has made, the world functions as if it is a broken down house. There is damage, broken parts, pain, and a building groaning for restortation and we have to live in it as it is.
The first chapter that we looked at was “Reject Passivity”. One of the things that Tripp calls us to do is to be active in this world. He sympathizes with us that we can easily be overwhelmed by all that we see and begin to feel like,”What’s the use?”- that could be a response to our life or the environment we live in. He looks at several arguments we make to remain uninvolved- One is “I’m too small.” But Tripp reminds us that God, the Great Restorer, never “calls us to what we cannot accomplish in him, but he always calls us to what we could never accomplish without him.” He states that,”Passivity is simply rooted in poor theology. When you begin to embrace the theology of God’s presence, promises and power, passivity no longer makes any sense.” (141)
The next argument is “the Problem is too big.” We’ve all felt this before- a chaotic life of someone we love, a marriage that seems impossible to fix, a community that does not care about justice or mercy: far too big for any action. Tripp explores how passivity happens- how the mundane becomes routine. “The character of a life is set in 10,000 little moments, one after another. ” He compares it to a crack in the house. You notice the crack, but it doesn’t seem like a big deal and you have so many other things to worry about. The crack grows and you notice, but there are deadlines; you want to fix it, and you think you will when you have time. The principle he shows us is,”the problems of life are not usually fixed in free and unscheduled moments. Problems generally get fixed because someone cares enough to make the time to address and solve them” (145)
The last argument we make for staying inactive is “It’s Not My Problem.” Tripp knows our lives,”We argue that we have a lot on our plate already and we want to be faithful to what God has given us to do.” But he challenges us,”Perhaps we take ourselves off the hook too easily. Perhaps we are too often too happily uninvolved.” This to me was the most challenging of the arguments. Of course we should be good stewards of what we are called to do and we have to guard our time with our families, etc. But I appreciate the question- are we neglecting how God commanded us to live?
He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of thee? But to do justly, and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Tripp states that,”Micah’s call takes us way beyond a ‘me and mine’ way of looking at the call of God.” (143)
I recently read a twitter quote attributed to Tim Keller while he was speaking at an Urban Church Planting conference-“The gospel enables us to love others more, and need others less.” The more we learn about God’s work on our behalf, we will not be able to “think biblically and adopt a passive lifestyle.” And Tripp finishes with the question,” Will you live biblically, exercising the character and influence you have been given?’