Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Book Review: gods at war by Kyle Idleman

I just finished reading Kyle Idleman's latest book, "gods at war" subtitled "Defeating the Idols that Battle for Your Heart".  I really enjoyed this book, it was both informative, challenging and encouraging!  Kyle unpacks we are all wired to worship but we often put honor and glorify false idols in our lives instead of God.  He shows how there are false gods at war within each of us and how they battle for the place of glory and control in our lives.  Kyle does a great job of stepping back and explaining how idolatry isn't an issue - it is the issue.
Kyle breaks up his book into 4 parts: "gods at war", "the temple of pleasure", "the temple of power", and "the temple of love".
Part 1, Kyle frames out his book and really unpacks how idolatry is still a big deal.  Most of us (Christians in the United States) don't have small statues that we worship, but we do worship status, jobs, relationships, etc.  Looking at scripture God makes it very clear "I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.  You shall have no other gods before me." (Ex. 20:2-3).  Kyle explains that often times, our own idols seem so normal to us, that we can't see them for what they are.  He says "The problem is that the instant something takes the place of God, the moment it becomes an end in itself rather than something to lay at God's throne, it becomes an idol."  Kyle reiterates several times, and I agree with him, that "All of us are worshipers.  Worship is hardwired in who we are.  Everyone worships."  The question then becomes "What will you worship?"
Kyle then spends the rest of the book looking at areas that can pop up as idols, areas that often are overlooked or thought of as "normal" pursuits.  Part 2: the temple of pleasure, is broken down into the god of food, the god of sex, the god of entertainment.  Part 3: the temple of power is comprised of the god of success, the god of money, the god of achievement.  Lastly, Part 4: the temple of love is made up of the god of romance, the god of family, the god of me.
Kyle does make it very clear that each of these areas aren't bad in and of themselves, the issue arises when we replace God as the center of our lives with something else: money, jobs, relationships, family, etc.  I really like how Kyle ends each chapter with reflection questions that dig a little deeper.
To sum up this book, Kyle shines a light on each of us, we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that can only be filled by God.  We try to stuff other things in the hole only to find that we aren't filled up, only God can fill that hole. 
Kyle uses the analogy that this is a "top button" issue. Like a dress shirt, when we put the top button through the top hole, all the other buttons are lined up correctly.  When we try and put the top button through the second hole (putting something else in God's rightful place) every other button will be off and we end up looking silly and our shirt doesn't feel right. I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend it!

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