When it comes to identifying gods in the realm of faith and spirituality, we often think of major world religions. But what about identifying gods in the realm of our hearts? Whether we realize it or not we are all built to worship. There is no such thing as no worship. The areas of our lives that we idolize at some point become false gods that we glorify. Bestselling author of his debut release, not a fan, Kyle Idleman attempts to show us these gods with his second book titled, gods at war.
The cover is white with a mild black grunge overlay. The black bold title which again is all lower case has a unique font that seems like a hybrid of celtic and gothic.
Idleman shares that every gift comes from God, but we have twisted and perverted that gift into our own god. When the gift replaces the giver is when people become enslaved. God is then competing with his own gifts. While there are countless gifts that can become false gods, Idleman summarizes the majority of them within three temples. The temples of Pleasure, Power, and Love. The temple of Pleasure focuses on the gods of food, sex and entertainment. The temple of Power brings to light the gods of success, money, and achievement. And the temple of Love breaks down the gods of romance, family, and me.
I did not walk away with an incredible amount enlightenment from this book. Most would admit idolatry is a destructive habit, even to the most devout secularist. I did walk away fascinated by Idlemans idea of idolatry. He claims that it is not just one of many sins, but it is the one great sin that all others come from. It is also fascinating he mentions that idolatry is the very first of the ten commandments God speaks of. He has a point. Idolatry in essence is the sin where all other sins have a connection. While many identify the symptom of their problems, Idleman identifies the true illness.
Idolatry isnt just one of many sins; rather its the one great sin that all others come from. So if you start scratching at whatever struggle youre dealing with, eventually youll find that underneath it is a false god. Until that god is dethroned, and the Lord God takes his rightful place, you will not have victory. Idolatry isnt an issue; it is the issue. All roads lead to the dusty, overlooked concept of false gods. Deal with life on the glossy outer layers, and you might never see it; scratch a little beneath the surface, and you begin to see that its always there, under some other coat of paint. There are a hundred million different symptoms, but the issue is always idolatry. - page 22
I appreciate the examples of idolatry gods at war has. Idleman shares both recent stories as well as stories from the Bible. From well known characters such as Moses, Joshua, and Elijah, to the lesser known such as Amnon, Tamar, and the Rich Young Ruler. It is commendable that Idleman diagnoses the true illness rather than the symptom. But I would have valued learning more about the antidote and the cure. He focuses too much on the true illness rather than what the cure does. The subtitle states, Defeating the idols that battle for your heart. That is to suggest this book will explain the antidote to this true illness. But it does not seem to do that very well. Idleman does provide the cure in the form of replacing these gods by choosing Jesus. But this leaves readers insufficient in what choosing Jesus looks like. Making a choice does not immediately replace idolatry. For example, choosing to replace the god of money with Jesus does not immediately replace work habits, spending habits, or debt. Replacement eventually happens, but there is still a process involved to go from loving money to loving Jesus. Defeating idolatry requires an action. This is no different than a cure requires an antidote. This is where gods at war misses the mark. It teaches what the idols in our lives looks like without teaching the process involved in how to defeat them. We receive ideas and inspiration from the stories Idleman shares. but they all seemed rushed and short on details.
While not a fan and gods at war share different subjects, the message falls under the same premise. We are all faced with a choice. That choice is who are you going to follow and worship? Idleman makes a clear case that God does not give any room to share space in our lives. We must choose either all or none of Him. He leaves no room for any middle ground. The Israelites chose to build a golden calf to idolize and worship as their god. Idleman shows that we do not have to look far to see the 'golden calves' we have constructed in our own lives. His fresh insights of how much idolatry is relevant today as it was in the Bible, makes gods at war a commendable offering. This helps readers to identify and take inventory of the gods that battle for their hearts. Unfortunately, with no actual concluding chapter or summary provided, this publication feels unfinished. Aside from a few engaging short stories, readers have few answers of what defeating idols looks like in practicality.
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