On Saturday night I watched Tim Keller's sermon from the 2009 Gospel Coalition Conference.
The sermon was called - "The Grand Demythologizer: The Gospel and Idolatry (watch or listen here)."
Keller helpfully defined idolatry in this way:
Idolatry is anything [other than God] I look at and say, "If I have that, my life has value."Personal Application:
Anything that is so central to your life that you feel you can't live without it is an idol.
Idolatry is making a good thing an ultimate thing.
What good things do I often look at and say "If I have that, my life has value"?
- Having a healthy or growing church.
- Being a good and effective pastor and preacher (seeing hearts changed by the Word).
- Being a good husband and father.
- Having kids that will grow up and be spiritually successful.
- Having a lot of people read my blog or like my sermons, etc.
- Having others aware of the above four points.
- My wife and family?
- My church?
- My ability to stay physically fit?
- The good opinions and approval of people I respect?
- So much of the things above.
On a similar note, Paul David Tripp writes:
It does beg the question, “What’s your one thing?” What is the one thing that your heart craves? What is the one thing that you think would change your life? What is the one thing that you look to for satisfaction, contentment, or peace? What is the one thing that you mourn having to live without? What is the one thing that fills your daydreams and commands your sleepy meditations? What is your one thing?
The spiritual reality for many of us is that the one thing is not the Lord. And the danger in that reality is this: your one thing will control your heart, and whatever controls your heart will exercise inescapable influence over your words, choices, and actions. Your one thing will become that which shapes and directs your responses to the situations and relationships of your daily life. If the Lord isn’t your one thing, the thing that is your one thing will be your functional lord. Here is what you say to yourself when something is your one thing: “Life has meaning and I have worth only if I have ___________ in my life.”
In what areas of your life do you see idolatry present? What is your one thing? Money, the acceptance of others, family, your children, work, toys, spirituality, service, health, sports, tv, food...?