Monday, June 28, 2010

Questions for Diagnosing Idolatry

During most of my life, the contemporary illustration of idolatry that I heard was a TV set—an object in the corner of the room to which we bow down and devote hours of our day. Though I see nothing false about that illustration, it falls extraordinarily short of describing the ongoing reality that our hearts can be thoroughly dominated by idols, even if we've never seen a stone Buddha . . . and even if we don't own a TV.

Calvin's description of our hearts as perpetual idol factories may have started to shape my thinking about idolatry, but no person or ministry has helped me grasp this concept of heart idols more than CCEF. David Powlison, Paul Tripp, and Ed Welch consistently demonstrate an understanding of how the depravity of the human heart falls prey to idolatry.

With all that in mind, here are a few questions I shared in a recent sermon—questions that have been useful for my own heart, and I pray will be for our congregation and perhaps even you. Though I haven't copied them consciously from anyone else, I can't imagine they're at all original with me.
  • Who is the person you want to please more than God?
  • What distracts you from reading God’s Word, prayer, time with family or listening to a sermon?
  • What other priorities keep you from those pursuits?
  • If someone objective assessed how you spend your time and money, what would he or she say is most valuable to you?
  • What’s the pleasure that you’re willing to sin to experience?


Anonymous said...


Over the years I've narrowed the question of my personal idolatry to this: What are my loves and affections?

It always challenges me.

Have a good one!


d4v34x said...

Big Amen. I've benefitted immensely from reading/hearing Welch and Tripp. Heard of Powlison, but never interacted with his work.