(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.)
Remove and replace.
This is key to getting rid of counterfeit gods.
Let me give you an example from our back yard. We had a tree that the canopy did not survive our Texas freeze in February of 2021. One afternoon a couple of months ago, I removed the dead branches and left the stump to have leverage to pull it out when it wasn’t so hot out. But, since I didn’t fully replace the tree, the roots still had life and started sending up saplings from the base. Pretty soon I had multiple little trees trying to make their presence fill the void from that which was removed.
Idols in our hearts not only have to be removed, but also replaced. If they are just removed, as we looked at yesterday, they will leave a void that soon another idol will fill if we are not intentional about filling those voids with the truth of God.
So what does that look like. Not to over simplify, but let me suggest two things that have worked for me.
First, remove idols through repentance.
When we understand that our heart has been set on something other than god, when we are made aware that a good thing has become an ultimate thing in our life, we must acknowledge it and repent of it. Repentance is having a change of mind toward that thing, to realize once again that even it if is a good thing, it must not be an ultimate thing. Here is God’s promise to us:
1 John 1:9, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
When the Spirit leads us to repent and remove the counterfeit god, what fills the void?
Replace the void the counterfeit god left with the truth of the Spirit!
Ephesians 5:18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
We must fill our hearts and minds with the truths and promises of God. However, it is not an “overnight” thing. It is an ongoing and intentional practice of the Christian to allow God’s truth to replace the deceptions of Satan. Tim Keller in his book, Counterfeit Gods, puts it this way:
“This takes what are called “the spiritual disciplines,” such as private prayer, corporate worship, and meditation. The disciplines take cognitive knowledge and make it a life-shaping reality in our hearts and imaginations. Spiritual disciplines are basically forms of worship, and it is worship that is the final way to replace the idols of your heart. You cannot get relief simply by figuring out your idols intellectually. You have to actually get the peace that Jesus gives, and that only comes as you worship. Analysis can help you discover truths, but then you need to “pray them in” to your heart. That takes time. “ Keller p 175.
Let every void a counterfeit god creates on its way out be filled with the truth of God’s Spirit on the way in.
Apply: What discipline could you add to your daily/weekly routine that would give time for “private prayer, corporate worship, and meditation” to all God’s Spirit to work truth deep into your mind and heart?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving your Spirit to lead me to confess the counterfeit gods and fill my heart with your truth. AMEN.