I’ve heard it said that the trail of every life leads to a throne. This old adage means we can examine our lives and see how we spend our time, what consumes our thoughts, what drives our emotions and where we spend our money to discover who or what we worship. For many of us who call ourselves Redeemed Girls, upon taking this personal inventory, we would be surprised to discover that something or someone other than King Jesus occupies the throne of our hearts.
“A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living. An idol has such a 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.” –Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
Tim Keller terms these rivals for God’s throne “counterfeit gods” or idols. Idolatry is not a word we often toss around in our culture. Most of the time we think of idols as objects made of wood or stone, worshipped by ancient peoples across the globe. Yet, idols are alive and well in our modern world. Our idols just take different forms and go by different names. Our counterfeit gods are better known as…
The Perfect Body
In his book Counterfeit God’s, Tim Keller writes:
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…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 or your brains, a great political or social cause, your morality and virtue, or even success in the Christian ministry. When your meaning in life is to fix someone else’s life, we may call it “codependency” but it is really idolatry. 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.”
Notice how Tim Keller defines idolatry. Anything that we look to and say, “If I have (fill in the blank) then I will feel like my life has meaning.”
What is your “if only?” Is it a better body? Or perhaps the perfect house? For my single girls, is it marriage? Of if you are married, is it children? What about a career or a calling? An idol is anyone or anything we think will offer us hope, security or significance. Idolatry is when a good thing becomes an ultimate thing—or better stated, a god thing.
What is the idea or image in your mind that holds your happiness? For each one of us it is different, yet the result is the same. Centering our lives upon anything other than the One True God is destructive. Idolatry is destructive to our relationships, to our happiness and ultimately to our hearts—which is why I like to call our idols wrecking balls. A wrecking ball is a force of destruction. It takes out anything in its path. Idols are destructive because they require sacrifices. Our sacrifices can take the shape of our health, our money, our children or our whole selves to achieve our “if only.”
This is why the first of the Ten Commandments addresses the issue of idolatry. God says, “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:3) Let’s get one thing straight: God is not an insecure teenager who is threatened by us having another relationship or love. As our Creator, He knows how we are designed and what is best for us. His commandments are meant to protect us from the damage that idolatry bestows on us. He knows that the only safe and healthy worship for the human heart is to have our lives centered upon Him, our Creator and Redeemer.
This month, Redeemed Girl Ministries embarks upon a study of subject that affects us all. In our teaching podcast and on our blog we are looking at the topic, “Wrecking Ball—Demolishing the Idols of our Hearts.” Miley Cyrus made the phrase “Wrecking Ball” a household word with her hit song.
“I came in like a wrecking ball
I never hit so hard in love
All I wanted was to break your walls
All you ever did was break me
Yeah, you wreck me”
For Miley, the wrecking ball she describes is placing a romantic relationship on the throne of her life. Her lyrics are a great example of the perils and unhealthiness that ensue when our lives orbit around the wrong thing. It is not that relationships are bad…on the contrary… they are gifts from God. But when we put a person on the throne, then that good thing becomes destructive.
Idolatry is when a good thing becomes a god thing and when it does, it wrecks us.
This month we want to take a hard and honest look at the things in our own lives that can destroy us. Stay connected with us as we examine the idols of our hearts and discover the true joy and freedom that occurs when Jesus alone is established on the throne of our lives.
Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our hearts
are restless until they find rest in Thee.
Marian Jordan Ellis, RGM Founder & President