Monday, April 8, 2013

{Review} Gods at War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart by Kyle Idleman

*disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review*
Published: February 19th, 2013 (Zondervan)
Pages: 240
Rating: 5/5

Goodreads ~ Amazon
In Gods at War, Kyle Idleman, bestselling author of not a fan, helps every believer recognize there are false gods at war within each of us, and they battle for the place of glory and control in our lives. What keeps us from truly following Jesus is that our hearts are pursuing something or someone else. While these pursuits may not be the 'graven images' of old, they are in fact modern day idols. Behind the sin you're struggling with, the discouragement you're dealing with, the lack of purpose you're living with is a false god that is winning the war for your heart.
 According to Idleman, idolatry isn't an issue---it is the issue. By asking insightful questions, Idleman reveals which false gods each of us are allowing on the throne of our lives. What do you sacrifice for? What makes you mad? What do you worry about? Whose applause do you long for? We're all wired for worship, but we often end up valuing and honoring the idols of money, sex, food, romance, success and many others that keep us from the intimate relationship with God that we desire. Using true, powerful and honest testimonies of those who have struggled in each area, gods at war illustrates a clear path away from the heartache of our 21st century idolatry back to the heart of God -- enabling us to truly be completely committed followers of Jesus. [Description from Goodreads]
“Idols are not defeated not by being removed but by being replaced.”
This is such a profound statement, and one of the most convicting things I took away from Kyle’s second book, Gods at War. The idols in our lives, whatever they may be, can only be conquered if we let Someone Else become our one true addiction. Bet you never thought of it like that, right? Neither had I.
Kyle uses the same clear, understandable logic and spiritual truthfulness to reveal first, that all hurting and hardship is spawned from some form of idolatry. (I want to point out right now that while you might think that some forms of idolatry are less “severe” than others, all are equally corrupt and damaging in the eyes of God.) In part 1, Kyle address idolatry in a broader sense before diving into specific idols many of us struggle with. As in Not a Fan, I found the “Case Studies” or real-life examples that Kyle uses in part 1 to be extremely eye-opening and relatable. He uses these examples as well as Scripture to help us 1) become fully aware of the wrongness of idolatry, and 2) get a feel for the idols in our own personal lives.
I personally felt the Lord working in my heart after I was submerged into the chapters on the specific idols. I became increasingly uncomfortable and convicted as I recognized idols I’ve harbored, and even became conscious of a couple I wasn’t aware of before. The god of Entertainment. Achievements. Romance. Me (to name a couple). In the past, I’ve downgraded the significance of the war that’s going on inside of me. During the time I was reading this book, my eyes were fully opened to the battlefield that is my heart. Each day is a fight. Each day a god wins.
Satisfaction is not found in the victory of foreign gods. Fulfillment only comes when God is placed on the throne of our hearts. I know that’s a hard one to swallow sometimes, because idols can look so good. They can seem so appealing. We’re told by the world that they’ll be all we need, and we’re apt to believe the world. We’re not willing to “take the chance” that God really is all we need. We may know that deep down, but we have our doubts. We don’t want to miss out. But we miss out when we let other gods win the battle day by day. Every day that you devote to something or someone other than God is a day utterly wasted.
That’s why they have to be defeated. Replaced.
Just as I did with Not a Fan, I finished this book with a new perspective and a deep need for change. The greatest thing is, though, that Gods at War is not just about conviction. It’s about hope, too.
“Everyone who drinks this from this water [worships ____] will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him [i.e. sets Me on the throne of their heart] will never thirst again.” –John 4:13

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