In his Introduction to Gods at War, author Kyle Idleman relates a late-night conversation with his eight-year-old daughter Morgan that changed his life and his church. During their nightly prayer time, Morgan surprised her father by announcing that she could recite all Ten Commandments. As Morgan finished her recitation, Pastor Idleman sensed a teachable moment. He asked Morgan if she’d ever broken any of those commandments.
Like any of us would do when put on the spot, Morgan tried to answer in a way that would be honest, yet not indict her. She had to admit that she’d broken all the Commandments but one- she’d never made an idol. As her father quips, she had that “bullet point” covered.
The author notes that the Bible has a thousand or so references to idolatry. Seeing his faith through that lens has enabled him to rebuild his relationship with God from its foundation. It’s clear, Pastor Idleman notes, that there’s a war going on:
“The gods are at war, and their strength is not to be underestimated. These gods clash for the throne of your heart, and much is at stake. Everything about me, everything I do, every relationship I have, everything I hope or dream or wish to become, depends upon what god wins that war.”
Our modern idols, in contrast to more primitive “graven images”, have such ordinary identities that they’re not readily diagnosed as gods. It is critical to our healing and revisioned calling that we take an honest look at our own hearts.
Today’s question: What gods battle for control of your heart? What methods have you found effective for counteracting their temptations? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “If it looks like an idol and quacks like an idol . . .”