Saturday, June 1, 2013

{REVIEW} GODS AT WAR by Kyle Idleman

Not long after I begin reading many of the booksneeze books I get to review, I begin to regret my choice. Not because they are bad books, but because they are speaking very loudly to something in me that needs to change. This book is definitely no exception! 

Idolatry isn't something we modern day believers, and unbelievers, really think much about. What comes to your mind when you hear the words "idol" and "idolatry"? Golden animal statues, totem poles, towering granite renditions of Greek gods? Ancient people in robes bowing down before wooden carvings? Would it surprise you to learn that YOU (yes, you) have idols in your life that our God hates, because they take His rightful place in your heart?

Yes, that's right. Even the most sainted and holy among us have idols that compete with Yahweh for our attention. The problem is that we often don't recognize that they even are idols, because they just seem like ordinary parts of our every day life. Kyle Idleman's book, gods at war, challenges us to really take a look at what we worship. He explains how we confuse worship with religion and defines what worship is:

"The problem, of course, is a misunderstanding of what worship is. When someone answers the question of worship by saying, "I'm not the religious type," he or she is missing the point. If that person is a  member of the human race and comes fully equipped with mind and body and emotions, then it follows that the individual is, in fact, a worshiper. It's factory-installed, standard equipment - not a buyer's option. 
When you subtract the religious language, worship is the built-in human reflex to put your hope in something or someone and then chase after it. You hold something up and then give your life to pursuing it. If you live in this world, then sooner or later you grow some assumptions concerning what your life is all about, what you should really be going after. And when you begin to align your life with that pursuit, then, whether you realize it or not, you are worshiping."  pg. 59
Idleman uses the story of the Israelites to illustrate an interesting point. You know when Joshua said "choose this day whom you will for me and my house we will serve the LORD." (Joshua 24:14-15)? He actually gave the people  three options: follow the old gods from where they started out, follow the gods you met next, in Egypt, or follow the local gods, those of the people recently defeated by the one true God. He then puts that into a modern-day perspective and shows how we still have the same choices today, thousands of years later. Idolatry is still there, it's still the same, it's still competing for first place in our hearts.

He also goes into detail about specific "gods", such as money, sex, food, etc. Scattered throughout are sections called "Idol ID" with questions to ask yourself to identify if these are things we are worshiping. You see, it's not a matter of if you are a worshiper but what are you worshiping? Pride will try to keep you from seeing this, so I highly recommend that before you even begin reading that you ask God to help you see the truth about what you are worshiping in your life. You may be very shocked at what you find, but once you deal with and remove those idols God and His peace can take His rightful place in your heart. 

I really enjoyed this book and found it rather interesting that the author's name is Idleman (yes, I know idle and idol do not mean the same thing, I'm speaking phonetically here). His writing style is light and easy to read and I enjoyed the little footnotes at the bottom of many of the pages, as they often were humorous. Such as on page 63 where he talked about  an Egyptian god named Hathor which had the body of a cow and the head of a woman. The footnote was "Which is why you don't know any women named Hathor." True that.

But most of all, I appreciated his gentle way of pointing out things that can, and most likely are, idols in my life. He was not harsh, critical or condemning, nor does he justify our modern way of thinking and being. By clearing up misconceptions about what worship really is and showing how even good things, like marriages and our children, can be idols, Idleman really brings it home that God, the One True God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is the rightful owner of the throne of our hearts. He will pursue us relentlessly, but it is up to us to choose this day, and every day, whom we will serve.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”