This week I am teaching a five-part class on idolatry. Most of my material is based on Kelly Minter’s book No Other Gods.* I’ve also collected bits and pieces from other resources and from my own testimony and experience. It has been a powerful week! An exhausting week, but an excellent one.
We’ve discussed the differences between a “professed god” and a “functional god.” We can claim God as our Lord, but if we don’t depend on Him with our whole hearts, then He is only a professed god. Something else — ourselves, our spouses, our churches, our friends, our coffee … whatever it is that motivates us, whatever takes the place of God — is our functional god.
The goal of the book, the study and the class is to push us toward following that first commandment: The LORD is your God and you shall have no other gods.
Not even little ones.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes thus far.
John Sailhamer wrote:
“He is a personal God and will not be satisfied with anyhthing less than a personal relationship with men and women whom He created in His image.”
“An idol is not simply a statue of wood, stone, or metal; it is anything we love and pursue in place of God … In biblical terms, an idol is something other than God that we set our hearts on, that motivates us, that masters or rules us, or that we serve.”
Idolatry is attached to everything. All of our bitterness, all of our impurity, all of our malice, all of our problems, everything that troubles us is a result of idolatry. And what is idolatry? It’s taking a good thing and making it an ultimate thing.“
“It’s not enough to merely walk away from our functional gods … it’s important to understand what got us there in the first place, so we can halt repeating visits.”
“Almost everyone is struggling to wake up, to be loved, and not feel so afraid all the time. That’s what the cars, degrees, booze and drugs are about.”
“When [man] is your god, you have no other choice [but to lower your standards]. … It matters little if you have it all or if you have less. Without Christ, wholeness is but a fantasy.”
“You made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
“Am I looking for something or someone smaller than Jesus to be for me what only Jesus can be?”
“No matter how vituous or overflowing with integrity and love … no person can ever possibly always be there for you. This is a place reserved solely for God, a position that only He is capable of … our experience of His presence is not nearly as consistent as the reality of it.”
“If we truly trust God — knowing who He is, what power He possesses, the depth of His love for us and the extent to which He will pursue us — there is nothing at all that we should fear, except Him. And that’s a healthy thing! He who implicitly trusts God in all areas of life cannot be threatened and has nothing to lose.”
“Righteousness cannot be manufactured; it is not measured by outward behaviors. Many trust God for salvation, but fail to trust Him for sanctification.”
“I have surrendered much at the feet of His supremacy, yet in God’s mysterious economy, He always restores more than I have ever given up in the first place.”
“Jesus said we must die in order that we might live. Daily Christian living, in other words, is daily Christian dying: dying to our trivial comforts, soult-shrinking conveniences, arrogant preferenes, and self-centered entitlements, and living for something much larger than what makes us comfortable and safe. God does everything through people who understand they are nothing. And God does nothing through those who think they’re everything.”
We’ve already spent four hours together, so these are clearly just a few of the excellent discussion points made. Our sessions have been saturated with Scripture. Tomorrow I’ll share a few of the main passages we explored.
* Kelly Minter has two books by the same title. The workbook is part of “The Living Room Series” and labeled as such. It provides question prompts and lots of space for journaling. I, however, am using the regular chapter book becuase I think it holds more information. It’s not as interactive, but it gets deeper.