At my church I have begun a series of sermons based on the book Gods at War by Kyle Idleman. It is a powerful book about modern idolatry. I believe that this is a relevant message for us today, even if we don’t have statues of Baal and Asherah poles in the Treasure Valley (If you’re unfamiliar with Baal and Asherah, check out Judges 2).
One point that Idleman makes is that there is a battle going on in the world today. It is a battle for your attention. It is a battle for your allegiance. It is a battle for your heart.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
This is an important battle because the heart is the center of who you are. For the Hebrew mind, the heart symbolized the center of the soul, where everything that you are resides. Here is how Jesus put it:
But what comes out of the mouth gets its start in the heart. It’s from the heart that we vomit up evil arguments, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, and cussing. That’s what pollutes. Matthew 15:7-8 (MSG)
People where worrying about what they where eating and drinking and Jesus was letting them know that they needed to worry more about the source of what was coming out of their mouths.
We are not much different. We worry more about what is on the outside and forget to work on what is inside. Idleman uses an interesting illustration to help us understand this reality.
Imagine you are walking by a pond in your neighborhood and you find that there is a huge amount of trash in the water. You find this to be unacceptable and you decide that you are going to clean up the pond and make it beautiful again.
After several hours of work you are finally done. The pond looks spectacular and you feel very proud of the work you have done.
The next day you come back to the pond and find that it is full of trash again. You can’t believe it. All the hard work you did the day before means nothing now. But you want the pond to be clean so you get busy raking out all the trash from the water. Three trash bags later, you are done.
The next day you come back and find more trash in the water. Now you know that something is up and you decide to do a stakeout to see what is going on. In the middle of the night you discover what the issue is: a dump truck is coming at night and dumping trash into the pond.
This is our problem. The modern idols of our time are dumping trash into our hearts and unless we deal with the heart issue, the trash will keep coming.
So today, ask God to help you identify the idols in your life that are dumping trash into your heart. Turn them over to Him and let him begin the transformation process in your life.
God will never stop fighting for your heart. Give him your heart and join the fight.
To watch Chaplain Milton’s sermon on this subject check out the video below.