How People Change - Review

Last year I posted a review of a small group study our small group had done called "The Gospel Centered Life." The study was powerful, and transformed our small group in some really important ways.

In the back of the study, there is a list of "Gospel-Centered Resources" that includes the book "How People Change" by Timothy Lane and Paul David Tripp.

In short, as the title suggests, "How People Change" talks about how people change.

But far from being another in a long list of self-help pablum currently available at your local Christian bookstore, "How People Change" focuses on the real issues and the only solution. According to this book, "A behavioral approach to change is hollow because it ignores the need for Christ and his power to change first the heart and then the behavior."

Lane and Tripp point to the reality that most Christians live with an under-developed understanding of our identity in Christ. They say "...each of us lives out of some sense of identity, and our gospel identity amnesia will always lead to some form of identity replacement. That is, if who I am in Christ does not shape the way I think about myself and the things I face, then I will live out of some other identity."

"How People Change" looks at several New Testament examples of change, and notice a pattern of change in a person's life: Heat is applied which either causes good fruit or thorns to emerge depending on the nature of the root. Whatever the result, fruit or thorns, the authors say should be seen in light of the cross which provides the power and resources for good fruit, and the cleansing and power for redemption from thorns.

Honestly, I love the heart of this book. For me, it was a book that started really strong and tapered off at the end. The heat, thorn, cross, fruit metaphors and examples started to lose me toward the end of the book. However, the first half of the book was easily, easily worth the price of the book. Three cheers for guys with the perspective and guts to go against the best-seller grain in favor of the truth: our biggest problem isn't self-help; it's a Savior.