Life is seldom simple. Growth in God's grace is a process and not an event. Tough things are not going to turn around overnight because you have entrusted them to the Lord. The Bible is honest in its description of how grave and comprehensive our war with sin is. Individuals, friendships, churches, marriages, and neighbourhoods don't turn around in a moment. The Bible describes the Christian life as a journey that often takes us through the wilderness. You will get tired and confused. You will have moments when you wonder where God is. You will struggle to see God's promises at work in your life. You will feel that following God has brought you more suffering than blessing. You will go through moments when it seems like the principles of Scripture don't work. It will sometimes seem like the wrong side wins. There will be moments when you feel alone and misunderstood. There will be times when you feel like quitting.For all that present difficulty, Tripp & Lane point us forward to our destination. The place where God's people don't sing of the troubles and victories of life but of Jesus. That's a big picture perspective our hearts need when we can't see above street level. A big picture where change is a community project, and a slow one but where change is nonetheless really possible. Possible because I have a new identity, I'm married to Christ and can know and enjoy his grace.
Deriving core principles from Jeremiah 17v5-10 Tripp & Lane invite us to consider:
1. Heat - life's situations that test us (whether positively or negatively)How that plays out is the 150 pages I've not yet read.
2. Thorns - unholy responses to situations
3. Cross - the presence of God in his redemptive glory and love to comfort, clense and provide power to change.
4. Fruit - different life growing from a heart renewed by grace.