Luther once wrote that all sins are a violation of the First Commandment (have no other gods before Me), redefining all sin as the outworkings of idolatry. In the Old Testament narrative, worshipping physical idols literally drove the people away from worshipping Yahweh. Today we might be less tempted to worship a physical idol; instead our idolatry looks more like possessions, positions, and power.
In Gods at War, pastor/author Kyle Idleman seeks to bring the theology of idolatry to a popular 21st century audience. He does this by presenting the idols as waging war for your heart, seeking to hold on to their controlling grip over your affections, attention, and worship. The book is divided into 4 sections: an introduction followed by sections on pleasure, power, and love.
In the first section Idleman introduces the concept of idolatry and shows how we struggle with it today. He highlights that God, as creator and sustainer, is the only thing worthy of worship, yet we are constantly devoted to other things. Since God is creator, it is a disgrace for us to make Him compete for attention with something He has created and given us!
Once Idleman has laid the groundwork on idolatry, he uses the last three sections of the book to show how idolatry is demonstrated in the areas of pleasure, power, and love. In each of these sections, he notes that there are plenty of good things (like family and ministry) that, when placed above or alongside God, serve as idols that draw us away from Him.
Throughout the book Idleman seems to be writing to two groups of people: non-Christians that have not given God an inch of their heart, and Christians who struggle with giving God complete control over their lives. In that regards the book reads like a series of sermons, trying to affect all that are listening. Like Idleman’s previous book (Not a Fan), Gods at War is written clearly and with a good amount of humor, making this book an easy read with the potential for great life change. I thought the first section, along with the very last chapter called “The God of Me,” to be the most impactful. I would recommend this book for teens and young adults struggling in their relationship with God, adults who are trapped in pursuits away from God, and non-Christians seeking to find purpose in their life.
- Title: Gods at War: Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart
- Author: Kyle Idleman
- Publisher: Zondervan (2013)
- Format: Paperback
- My Rating: 4.5/5