Hunting Season

At Immanuel, we are working through the book of Ezekiel on Sunday mornings. Yesterday I preached on Ezekiel 6, where God explains the coming destruction of Jerusalem by decrying the rank idolatry of his people. From the text, I pointed out three tragedies of idolatry: that idolatry prevents the true knowledge of God, that idolatry breaks the heart of  God and that idolatry must be avenged by a holy God. The good news (great news!) is that Jesus has already broken the power of the idols in our life. The cross has set us free from sin–not just the guilt of sin, but the power as well. In light of that good news, it’s time to go hunting for our idols, to bring them to their end at the cross and open tomb of Jesus.

To aid the congregation in hunting their idols, I put together a couple lists.

The first is a series of questions drawn from this post by John Piper. Piper helps to focus the questions on the issue of desire:

  • What do you desire?
  • Is your desire forbidden by God?
  • Is your desire disproportionate to the worth of the object?
  • Can you/do you give God thanks for what you desire?
  • Do you value it as a gift from the Giver?
  • Do you see it as a right?
  • Does it draw you away from your duties?
  • Does it make you callous to those around you?
  • If you don’t have it, does it ruin your trust in God’s goodness?
  • If you don’t have it, can you still love other people?
And then from this post about Tim Keller’s writings on idolatry, I brought four categories of idols to the congregation for their self-examination:
  • Power idols: do you fear humiliation? Do you often exhibit anger toward others? Do you use people?
  • Approval idols: do you fear rejection? Are you often cowardly, changing yourself to fit in to any crowd?
  • Comfort idols: do you fear stress? Are you often bored? Do you neglect people to do what you want to do?
  • Control idols: do you fear uncertainty? Do you often condemn others? Are you frequently anxious?
So, “if the Son has set you free, you are free indeed.” Let’s exercise our freedom by seeking out these idols for destruction by the love and grace of God!

One Comment

  1. ellenolivetti November 14, 2011 at 12:41 pm #

    I have read this about identifying idols:
    To identify idols in your life, answer these three questions:
    1. Am I willing to sin to get this?
    2. Am I willing to sin if I think i am going to lose this?
    3. Do I run to it for refuge instead of turning to God?

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