Much of what I have been learning and meditating on lately has been inspired by Tim Keller’s book Counterfeit Gods. I finished it prior to moving to St. Louis and it has been a great help. The introduction and first chapter alone have resulted in more questions and revelations regarding idolatry than I have ever had before. Here are some quotes and musings:
• Idols are not bad things. “We think that idols are bad things, but that is almost never the case. The greater the good, the more likely we are to expect that it can satisfy our deepest needs and hopes. Anything can serve as a counterfeit god, especially the very best things in life.” This reality challenged me to broaden my search radius when seeking to identify idols in my life. For me good things can easily become ultimate things if I am not careful.
• Your thought life is a great indicator of what you worship. “Idols capture our imagination, and we can locate them by looking at our daydreams. What do we enjoy imagining? What are our fondest dreams?” This in conjunction with the first point allowed me to see that, although not inherently evil, my desires for success, security and control had become idols. In specific many of my daydreams are about my future and what I hope to accomplish. My ambition is not a bad thing but when my hope is found in what I think I can potentially accomplish I have made success a god.
• God is so very gracious to us in his denying us the desires of our hearts when they are anything other than Himself. “…one of the worst things God can do to someone is to give them over to the desires of their hearts (Romans 1:24). Why would the greatest punishment imaginable be to allow someone to achieve their fondest dream? It is because our hearts fashion these desires into idols.” Apart from the work of the Holy Spirit our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick (Jeremiah 17:9). Left to our own devices we would pursue everything but God for things that only God can deliver. I cannot imagine a more miserable existence.
My prayer has been that I would respond properly to the revelation of idols in my life by turning in repentance to God and restoring him to his rightful place on the throne of my heart to be worshiped alone. Read the book if you get a chance it’s worth your time.
Have a great week,