This is a book review on Paul David Tripp’s New Morning Mercies.
As a twenty-five-year-old young adult, it can be difficult for me to remember what life was like before I met Jesus at eight years old—peering into my father’s eyes at 2:30 a.m. From that moment forward, everything I did was for the Gospel, and while I am not perfect, my relationship with Him from an early age prevented much hardship in the future.
In 2 Corinthians chapter five, Paul explains this transformation that took place in me as being made into a new creation.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here. – 2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV
The Passion Translation coins this as not only a new entity but a new spirit that starkly contrasts the old ways we leave behind, replacing them with fresh and new life.
Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh and new. – 2 Corinthians 5:17, TPT
In the same way that partaking in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ presents newness to our lives, sometimes, we all need a fresh outlook on studying the Gospel.
What is New Morning Mercies? What is the aim of this devotional?
Since I got saved and baptized at an early age, I read over one hundred different devotional books, commentaries, versions, and translations of Scripture by the time I reached early adulthood. Yet, I was still looking for something more. I was longing for something to take me deeper instead of surface-level material you will often find in juvenile literature.
When my best friend gave me New Morning Mercies for my birthday, I was ecstatic. I knew that she often felt the same way I did regarding devotionals, so I trusted her generosity. I was tired of reading things applicable for high school and college students but finding nothing that challenged my greater cognitive skills. One page into this book, and I was hooked.
The windows of my mind expanded, and my heart began to grow. This devotional not only presented New Morning Mercies for 365 days, but every lesson offered space for reflection, questions for discussion, and supplemental paired reading for an extension. Never in my life have I read a devotional like this that cuts to the chase about Christ, but presents the Gospel in an authentic and applicable way.
Where This Book Excelled
Not For the Faint of Heart
While other devotionals I have read speak gently about the Gospel, I fear that far too many tip-toe around serious topics that need to be addressed. Instead of dabbling in small and simplistic truths that are evident to most, Tripp dives deeper and isn’t afraid to ask difficult questions.
In 1 Corinthians chapter three, Paul again says that those who are mature in the faith must challenge themselves with solid spiritual food. If we’re always running back to milk, we won’t grow. Like a weaned child learning to digest solid food so he can mature and grow, we need books like these to examine our faith and challenge us with practical steps for growth. While some are not yet ready for this food, those who are need to be willing to step out of their comfort zones to be challenged.
I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not yet able to receive it. Even now you are still not ready. – 1 Corinthians 3:2, AMP
The Message version writes it bluntly this way:
But for right now, friends, I’m completely frustrated by your unspiritual dealings with each other and with God. You’re acting like infants in relation to Christ, capable of nothing much more than nursing at the breast. Well, then, I’ll nurse you since you don’t seem capable of anything more. As long as you grab for what makes you feel good or makes you look important, are you really much different than a babe at the breast, content only when everything’s going your way? When one of you says, “I’m on Paul’s side,” and another says, “I’m for Apollos,” aren’t you being totally childish. – 1 Corinthians 3:2, MSG
If you are ready for a challenge and devotional that will take you deeper, Tripp presents applicable lessons for late-college-aged students up to mid-level adults, but beware: it isn’t for the faint of heart! Not only will these segments push you, but they might convict you to the core.
Be Open to Conviction
Unlike previous books I have read for daily devotionals, I was impressed with Tripp’s ability to speak profound truths in a way that the Holy Spirit always talked to my heart.
Hebrews 5:12-14 reminds us to be open to this heart of conviction in our relationship with the Lord, for a spirit of stagnancy is one that we are never meant to rest within and stay. Again, this is why Paul writes in Hebrews the importance of continually maturing, challenging, and growing our faith. Reading devotionals and commentaries that do not push us is not worth our spiritual investment. We must be willing to search and do the difficult work if we want to mature in our intimacy with the Lord.
For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the basic principles of the oracles of God. You need milk, not solid food, for everyone who lives on milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, since he is a child. But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil. – Hebrews 5:12-14, ESV
Where This Book Fell Short?
While I have nothing too critical to say about Tripp’s novel, I will note that many devotionals took me a few reads to understand. I still found the material challenging with a biblical degree because many of the lessons took quite a few reads to wrap my head around. While this could be because I was tired and not as focused in the morning, I think many sections could’ve been clarified or shortened with more straightforward explanations.
Second, although the book is called New Morning Mercies, I often found that the lessons could be read during any time of the day, though the title would beg to differ. I would have also liked to see more questions for the application and connections to the supplemental reading.
Who Should Read This Book?
Contrary to the title, anyone with a basic understanding of the Gospel would benefit from this book. While I would not recommend this devotional for new believers, I believe that those with biblical degrees or extensive knowledge of Jesus will grow from reading its contents.
The topic is relatively simple: Every day, young or old, old Christian or new, we need to be willing to listen for how the Lord may speak in new and fresh ways. If morning is your time for that, then allow New Morning Mercies to flood over your soul, but don’t be surprised if you read it in the evening and find New Evening Mercies are possible as well. Don’t confine God to a box or restrict a book to its title. The possibilities are endless, and if you are willing, Tripp may speak truths that convict, heal, and prompt your growing soul.