Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sex & Money by Paul David Tripp

There may be no author I appreciate more these days than Paul David Tripp. He has this ability to diagnose the heart issues of our day while showing the hope the gospel brings to those issues. There may be no greater example of this ability than his latest book, Sex & Money.

Is there any doubt that these are issues we all face these days? Our culture is obsessed with sex and money. We are infatuated with these things. We are told by the world that these things will bring us happiness; things that will fulfill us. And when they don't, we are left crippled and unsatisfied just like the last time.

In response to this obsession of these things in our world today, Tripp says, "the church of Jesus Christ has been strangely silent and reticent in both areas" (17). In addition, he says, "Christian parents don't seem to do a very good job in discipling their children in either area" (17). I couldn't agree more. We have stayed too quiet on both of these subjects. For sex, because it is taboo. For money, because it is none of our business. Maybe it is time the church and parents stand up and speak the truth of God that these idols are killing people. But there is hope.

Ultimately, this book is a book on the gospel. It is a diagnostic book that shows how these things are worship disorders that remove God from His rightful place on the throne. He says,
"In the midst of the madness there's only one window through which we can look at the world's of sex and money and see with candor, clarity, and wisdom. This window is the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. And there is only one thing that can free us from the insanity that somehow, someway seems at some point to grip us all. It's the grace of that very same gospel. You see, the humbling truth is that when it comes to sex and money we don't have a thing problem; the things (sex and money) are not evil in themselves. We don't have an environment problem, as if our surroundings cause the difficulty. No, we are the problem" (21).
And he goes on to say . . .
"The wars of sex and money are never just a battle with the temptations of the surrounding culture; they're never just about behavior or about what we do with our bodies. Christ is saying that our behavior is more directed by what's inside us than the people and situations outside us. He's saying that sexual struggles are inescapably struggles of the heart" (45).
And the same can be said of money. Our problem with money is not that we are inundated with advertisement of greed everyday. Our ultimate problem is that in our heart, we are never satisfied outside of Christ and the gospel. We want more and more and more until . . . well, we don't know.

Let me stress this as strongly as I can. This book is not just for someone who "has a problem with sex or money." Well, it is. But it is not just for someone who thinks they have some sort of sexual or financial addiction. It is a book for all people, for all people have a sex and money problem. We just have different degrees of those problems. There are numerous ways the idols of our heart affect the way we view sex and money. In this book, Tripp attempts to expose many of them.

One of the strengths of the book are the numerous storied examples of people who struggled. These stories brought many of the teachings into real life for me. In fact, there were several times I thought, "And I've never counseled with Dr. Tripp, how did he tell my story?" I would be surprised if you didn't see yourself in them as well. Tripp ends the book with these thoughtful, powerful words:
"Yes, we do live in a world that has gone sex-and-money insane. And, yes, that insanity still lives in some way in all of our hearts. But we needn't panic; we needn't succumb; we needn't think that our battles are leading nowhere. We must not give way to assessments of poverty, aloneness, and impossibility, because the insanity has been invaded by the Messiah, Jesus. He faced every insane thing we face, and he defeated it all on our behalf. He did all this so that you and I would have the grace we need to face the sex-and-money struggles that we will continue to face until eternity is our home and the insanity has been quieted forever" (213).
I would highly recommend this book!

I received a copy of Sex & Money by Paul David Tripp from Crossway Publishers for this review.

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