Wednesday, April 3, 2013
In his book, Counterfeit Gods, Keller explains the how and why all those wonderful pursuits of success, money, true love and the life we've always wanted OFTEN leaves us restless, lonely and dissatisfied. He quotes several Biblical characters and tells their stories so WE might learn a lesson or two.
In our era of economic meltdown, ALL that disappointment is magnified in divorce, bankruptcy, suicides, bitterness and hopelessness. If ANY good has come from America's recent downturn financially/culturally/spiritually it is the revelation of how foolish it is to place our hope and hearts in fortunes, marriages, relationships, careers and a secure retirement. They ARE Counterfeit Gods! Americans have worshipped them for years and they have crashed around us.
He describes a strange melancholy that is a result of a culture FILLED idols. We can (and do) make gods out of children and family, career and making money, achievement and critical acclaim, a romantic relationship, a political or social cause, morality and virtue, peer approval, military power, health, fitness, beauty, emotional dependence of others on you, ideologies, saving face or social standing. We develop relationships with people and things that can only be described as worship.
Sometimes the god of religion goes askew with the thought, "if you live a good life, then the gods or God will HAVE to bless you and give you prosperity." The ones that follow THAT god assume that the most successful people in a society are those closest to God. The daily headlines prove THAT line of thought false! (Jesus Himself tells us that we WILL have troubles as long as we are in this world.)
Whew! What a description of America! These "gods" are "in our face" 24/7!
Years ago, Bill Gothard defined idolatry as: "Expecting anyone or anything to do for you THAT which only God can do."
Archbishop William Temple said, "Your religion is what you do with your solitude." In other words, the true god of your heart is where your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention."
Also, another way to discern your true love is to look at how you spend your money. The mark of an idol is that you spend too much money on IT.
Another question, "What are you really living for?" If you pray and ask for something and don't get it and respond with explosive anger or deep despair, then maybe you've found your true god.
Final test. Look at your uncontrollable emotions. Fear, frantic activity, overworking, despair, guilt?
Pull those emotions up by the roots and see which god is clinging to them.
Idolatry is not just disobeying God, it is setting the whole heart on something/someone beside HIM.
The solution? It is NOT pulling yourself up by the boot straps or obeying rules of outward conduct, but setting your heart on Christ as your peace and your life. THAT is the road to freedom from counterfeit gods that control us.
Thank you Timothy Keller! You've challenged us to THINK!