One of the things we do with the TransformD team is help them to think about their own hearts in terms of idolatry.
Idolatry can mean a false view of God which is then represented physically. In fact that’s usually what it means in Scripture. But it can also mean a whole life of worshiping created things rather than the creator (Romans 1:25; Ephesians 5:5). We are heart-driven beings, constantly giving ourselves to things, running after things, finding refuge in things, clinging to things as God-substitutes. So the lens of idolatry can be a very helpful one for diagnosing what is wrong with us – getting to the heart behind all our issues and behaviour.
Here are a couple of very helpful quotes on this subject I came across recently. First a great picture of what the heart does:
Our hearts are like heat-seeking missiles, always looking to lock on to whatever they perceive to be excellent. The trouble is, of course, that fallen human hearts naturally lock on to things which are not excellent (such as self-glory) or on to things which are good in and of themselves, but not good if they become ultimate things (such as family or career or ministry). (Moody & Weekes, Burning Hearts)
And when we lock on to what is not God, it affects everything. It changes us, it poisons our relationships because it changes the way we see ourselves and other people. I’ve never heard that process explained so well as in the following quote:
“When human beings give their heartfelt allegiance to and worship that which is not God, they progressively cease to reflect the image of God. One of the primary laws of human life is that you become like what you worship; what’s more, you reflect what you worship not only to the object itself but also outward to the world around. Those who worship money increasingly define themselves in terms of it and increasingly treat other people as creditors, debtors, partners, or customers rather than as human beings. Those who worship sex define themselves in terms of it (their preferences, their practices, their past histories) and increasingly treat other people as actual or potential sex objects. Those who worship power define themselves in terms of it and treat other people as either collaborators, competitors, or pawns. These and many other forms of idolatry combine in a thousand ways, all of them damaging to the image-bearing quality of the people concerned and of those whose lives they touch.” (N.T. Wright,
Doesn’t that explain so much? Don’t you see that happening all the time? So what is the solution? The answer is not to try by force of will to wrench our hearts away from idols and determine to be more God-centred. What we need is to look outside ourselves and be captured by a greater vision, an awesome bridegroom, the Lamb of God.
What we need is to see the supreme worth of Jesus Christ, and for our hearts to lock on to Him… Good biblical preaching… will expose the deep-rooted idols and exalt the Lord Jesus… The strategy of preaching [is to] fire the imagination with the truth of the gospel. (Moody & Weekes, Burning Hearts)
If you know a young person who’s willing to be TransformD there’s still time to apply for the January-June 2018 programme.