Monday, December 13, 2010

Counterfeit Gods

Before I had kids, I used to post quite frequently about books I was reading. But to be honest, I am just not reading as much these days as I used to 2 years ago!  But today Tim had a day off and while the girls were napping and snow was falling outside, we decided to brew some coffee, turn on some Christmas music and read. I have to say, it was one of our most enjoyable "Home dates" ever!  I am reading  Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope That Matters by Timothy Keller. So far it has been spiritually and intellectually stimulating.  I am only about 30 pages into it, but I am encouraged and convicted by Keller's view on contentment and idols.

He defines an idol like this:
" 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. ...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'". 

He talks about how good and natural desires of our hearts can so quickly become idols that become our identity and purpose. 

A way of determining your idols Keller says is often by looking at your nightmares, "What do we fear the most? What if we lost it, would make life not worth living? We make 'sacrifices' to appease  and please our gods, who we believe will protect us. We look to our idols to provide us with a sense of confidence and safety."

Personal identity has been something I have struggled with since I was a young girl. I have found my identity in my good works, in my husband, my children, a clean home, beauty, and even my "spirituality". Throughout my life these idols have shifted and yet the root has remained the same -I am not finding my true identity in Jesus Christ.

Keller says it this way, "We need to find a way to keep from clutching them [idols] too tightly, of being enslaved by them. We will never do so by mouthing abstractions about how great God is. We have to know, to be assured, that God so loves, cherishes, and delights in us that we can rest our hearts in him for our significance and security and handle anything that happens in life."

This is the desire of my heart, that I would rest in Christ each day for my joy, contentment and purpose and that my girls could see that and follow me as I follow Christ.

He continued to speak to the fact that many times we end up losing the thing that we cling to most vigorously and through that experience our faith is built up as we lean on Christ for strength.

He says it this way, "You don't realize Jesus is all you need until Jesus is all you have"


Lisa Patterson said...

Julie, thank you so much for sharing this... I so needed to read this and by God's grace I will realize the idols that so, so very often take place in my heart and mind. Keep reading and sharing girl...

suzanne said...

Time to read AND blog about it? Awesome!