(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Tim Keller entitled, Counterfeit Gods. You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
“I don’t have idols!”
“You can look in my house…no statues…no icons of other gods…I don’t have a problem with idolatry!”
Ever thought this?
Perhaps it is our knee-jerk reaction when we hear the first commandment God gave, “You shall have no other gods besides me.”
We got the first one, right? We can move on to commandments two through ten.
Or can we?
Depends on how we define an idol.
If we simply define an idol as anything fashioned out of wood, stone, or metal that represents a god other than the God revealed in the pages of the Bible, perhaps many of us can claim we have “no other gods.” However, if we define an “idol” as Tim Keller does in Counterfeit Gods, we are not so quickly off the hook.
Consider this definition:
What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.
A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought. It can be family and children, or career and making money, or achievement and critical acclaim, or saving “face” and social standing It can be a romantic relationship, peer approval, competence and skill, secure and comfortable circumstances, your beauty and brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry….An idol is whatever you look at and say, in your heart of hearts, “if I have that, then I’ll feel my life has meaning, then I’ll know I have value, then I’ll feel significant and secure.”
“Anything in life can serve as an idol, a God-alternative, a counterfeit god.”
Anything. Even the good things of life have opportunity to take first priority in our hearts and lives and become spiritually harmful. The temptation is to shift our love and trust from the true God to some thing or some one.
God’s desire is that we find the joy, peace and security we are looking for in him. The first and greatest commandment is not for stroking God’s ego, it is for bringing blessing to our hearts.
So let’s embark on this journey, allowing God’s Spirit to expose the counterfeit gods in our heart so that we may find more fully the blessing of loving God “with ALL our heart, ALL our soul, ALL our mind and ALL our strength” (Mark 12:30).
Apply: Walk through your house. What things do you see or interact with (things or people) that perhaps are taking priority over your relationship with God?
Prayer: Spirit of God, expose the counterfeit gods in my heart and enable me to love the LORD my God, who has so graciously loved me, with ALL my heart, ALL my soul, ALL my strength, and ALL my mind. Amen.