Pastor and author of the widely popular book Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman continues to challenge what it means to be a committed follower of Christ. In his new book, Gods at War: Defeating the Idols That Battle for Your Heart, he examines idol worship—the greatest, yet least-recognized issue facing believers today.
"What if I told you that every sin you are struggling with, every discouragement you are dealing with, even the lack of purpose you’re living with, are because of idolatry?" writes Idleman. "Idolatry seems so primitive. So irrelevant ... and yet idolatry is the number one issue in the Bible, and that should raise caution for us."
Pointing to idolatry as the "one great sin that all others come from," Idleman opens the eyes of readers with a modern-day definition of an idol: "something that takes the place of God, something that becomes an end in itself rather than something to lay at God's throne."
"It all comes down to what’s happening in your heart," he explains. "And that's why Jesus put so much emphasis there ... The heart is the battleground for the gods because everything flows from it."
Idols have become harder to spot in modern times than the golden statue or carved animals of the Old Testament—they have morphed into all areas of our lives, some idols like success and family are difficult to consider as sins. Idleman identifies and addresses the most common modern-day gods that are at war for our hearts: food, sex, entertainment, success, money, achievement, romance, family—even ourselves.
"If you start scratching at whatever struggle you're dealing with, eventually you'll find that underneath is a false god," Idleman says. "Until that god is dethroned, and the Lord God takes his rightful place, you will not have victory ... Idolatry isn’t an issue; it is the issue."