Counterfeit Gods

I was given the book Counterfeit Gods by Tim Keller on Sunday, December 20, 2009.  I finished it today.  It is a PHENOMENAL book on idols in our lives!  This is a must read!  So, I am going to give you just a small taste of the conclusion of the book.  This excerpt is from the Epilogue: Finding and Replacing Your Idols.

“Rejoicing and repentance must go together.  Repentance without rejoicing will lead to despair.  Rejoicing without repentance is shallow and will only provide passing inspiration instead of deep change . . .”

“To rejoice is to treasure a thing, to assess its value to you, to reflect on its beauty and importance until your heart rests in it and tastes the sweetness of it.  ‘Rejoicing’ is a way of praising God until the heart is sweetened and rested, and until it relaxes its grip on anything else it thinks that it needs.”

“This takes what are called ‘the spiritual disciplines,’ such as private prayer, corporate worship, and meditation.  The disciplines take cognitive knowledge and make it a life-shaping reality in our hearts and imaginations.  Spiritual disciplines are basically forms of worship, and it is worship that is the final way to replace the idols of your heart.  You cannot get relief simply by figuring out your idols intellectually.  You have to actually get the peace that Jesus gives, and that only comes as you worship.  Analysis can help you discover truths, but then you need to ‘pray them in’ to your heart.  That takes time.  It is a process about which there is much to say . . . I believe the process will take our entires lives.”

Keller, speaking of repeatedly driving a highway in Pennsylvania on family vacations over the years said, “For years the highway remained uncompleted in one spot, where there was a particularly nasty swamp.  On at least one occasion, construction workers parked a bulldozer overnight on what seemed to be solid ground.  However, by morning they discovered that it has sunk.  Often when they put down pilings in the attempt to find bedrock, the pilings disappeared.”

“Our hearts are like that. We think we’ve learned about grace, set our idols aside, and reached a place where we’re serving God not for what we’re going to get from him but for who he is.  There’s a certain sense in which we spend our entire lives thinking we’ve reached the bottom of our hearts and finding it is a false bottom.  Mature Christians are not people who have completely hit the bedrock.  I do not believe that is possible in this life.  Rather, they are people who know how to keep drilling and are getting closer and closer.”

“The great pastor and hymn-writer John Newton once wrote about this struggle:

‘If I may speak of my own experience, I find that to keep my eye simply on Christ, as my peace and my life, is by far the hardest part of my calling . . . It seems easier to deny self in a thousand instances of outward conduct, than in its ceaseless endeavors to act as a principle of righteousness and power.'”

“The man or woman who knows the difference that Newton refer to–the difference between obeying rules of outward conduct rather than setting your heart on Christ as your peace and your life–is on the road to freedom from the counterfeit gods that control us.”

~Counterfeit God, by Tim Keller (excerpts from pages 172 – 177)~

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