Idolatry: God’s Prescription

Our four year-old has been sick this week, so my wife  is taking him to the doctor this morning.  We’re taking him to the doctor because our doctor graduated from medical school and has decades of experience in pediatrics, so we’re banking on him knowing more about practicing medicine than we do.  Our hope is that he will accurately diagnose the problem so that he can accurately prescribe a remedy.  In order to do this, the doctor’s diagnosis has to go just as deep as the problem.  If my son has the flu and the doctor diagnoses the problem as food poisoning then his prescription will be inaccurate because his diagnosis didn’t go deep enough.  Yesterday we explored the reality that our idols go deeper into our hearts than we realize; they have multiple levels:

1) An object or person (money, a spouse, good grades, etc.) that leads to…

2) A deeper desire (comfort, respect, pleasure, etc.) that leads to…

3) You becoming your own god.

The diagnosis of our idols must reach to this bottom level of our hearts or else the prescription won’t really solve the problem.  If we diagnose our idolatry, for example, as simply loving money too much, then the prescription becomes giving money away or letting your spouse handle the finances instead of you.  But in this instance, the heart has not been addressed and as a result the problem remains.  The diagnosis did not go deep enough, so the neither did the prescription.

But now that we have an accurate diagnosis of our idolatry as seen above, we can get an accurate prescription.  The problem, as with our sick child, is that we’re not experts…  in this case, when it comes to our hearts.  We don’t know what our hearts need, but God does, so he, like a doctor, must prescribe the remedy.  This is where the doctor metaphor starts breaking apart because unlike the doctor, God is the remedy! In Jesus Christ, God has provided us with everything necessary to put our idols to death.  Putting your idols to death involves believing and acting on a number of Gospel realities:

1) Jesus is your God.  You are not your own god, so you must submit to His authority (Jn. 14:7; Phil. 2:9-11, Lk. 9:23)

2) Through his life, death, and resurrection, Jesus has freed you from your slavery to idols so that you will live a life pursuing the glorious riches God has for you in him (Romans 6:20-23).

3) Your idols will not satisfy you, but because of God’s love for you in Christ you have pleasures forevermore, ever spiritual blessing, and every good thing (Jer. 2:13; Ps. 16:11; Eph. 1:3; Rom. 8:32).

4) In Christ you have all the necessary resources to put your idols to death and instead, choose life in him: his truth, his power, his church, and his love (1 Cor. 10:13; Jn. 8:32; 2 Cor. 12:9; Heb. 3:13; 2 Cor. 5:14-15).

There is certainly more to believe than what I’ve listed above (which is why we have a whole book of God’s truth), but hopefully this will at least get us started in killing our idols and fleeing to Christ.

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About Brent Osterberg

Ransomed sinner, husband to Keri, father to the kiddos three, associate pastor at Calvary Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX, and lover of most things epic. View all posts by Brent Osterberg

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