War of Words Book Review

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I’ve certainly been reading a lot of Paul Tripp books lately, which is probably a testimony to how much I love his work.  There are very few authors who I’ve decided to attempt to read all of their writings, but Paul Tripp is quickly becoming one of those authors.

My latest Paul Tripp book is War of Words.  Tripp begins with these words:

“Sometimes authors write because of expertise…An author may also write out of desperation.  In his life there is a weakness or struggle that needs to be addressed.  He examines, studies, meditates, and applies what he has learned to help himself grow.  He then puts the fruit of his labors down on paper in the hope that others will benefit as he has.

I have not written this book out of expertise, but out of desperation.  I have told many people during the writing process that I did not write this book, it wrote me!”

As you read through War of Words you can tell that this was a very personal book for Tripp to write.  Each chapter is peppered with personal stories, some humorous, some serious but all very helpful.

One of the number one relational problems that people deal with is communication, which is what makes War of Words such a helpful book.  Tripp, in his characteristic style, speaks directly to what’s wrong with our communication, which is idolatry.  Tripp writes,

Idolatry is when my heart is controlled or rule by anything other than God.

This happens to us more than we would tend to think.  The desire for success at work becomes a demand for appreciation from the boss.  The desire to have enough money to pay the bills morphs into a lust for affluence.  The desire to be a good parent becomes a desire to have children who enhance my reputation.  The desire for friendship becomes a demand to be accepted and anger when I’m not.  What was once a healthy desire takes control, and when this happens, the desire that originally motivated me changes into something very different.  Rather than being motivated by a love for God and my neighbor, I am motivated by a pursuit of what will bring me pleasure, and I am angry at anyone who stands in the way.”

An idolatrous heart will produce idol words, words that serve the idol that grips us.  It is hard for us to hold our desires loosely.  Instead, they tend to take hold of us.  Our desires tend to get elevated to a position where they should never be.  Here is what happens: A desire battles for control until it becomes a demand.  The demand is then expressed (and usually experienced) as a need. (“I need sex.” “I need respect.”)  My sense of need sets up my expectation.  Expectation when unfulfilled leads to disappointment.  Disappointment leads to some kind of punishment.  “You want something, but you cannot get it.  You quarrel and fight.”  So when James says, “You adulterous people,” he is not changing the subject.  He is saying something very significant.  Adultery takes place when I give the love I have promised one person to someone else.  Spiritual adultery occurs when I give the love that belongs to God alone to something or someone else.  James is saying that human conflict is rooted in spiritual adultery.!

War of Words is one of those books that you need to read and re-read in order to really glean all of what’s there.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first read through and am confident that I will enjoy my next read even more.  If you are married or any kind of a relationship with anyone, this book will help you.  I highly recommend it.

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June 16 2010 04:00 am | Blog

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