Verse to memorise:
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. Matthew 22:37-38
It’s not often that you will start a book club study and the introduction is the first chapter you will dig into. The reason I chose to study the Introduction is because it is just so meaty and gets to the crux of the issue immediately.
Do you transgress the First Commandment?
Do you only consider idolatry a matter that concerns carved images?
Tim Keller described idols as “anything that stands in the way of your worship of God.” (paraphrased..) Elyse Fitzpatrick might substitute worship with ‘love’. What stands in the way of you loving God? Is there anything that grabs your attention away from loving God on a daily basis?
What does God tell us in 1 Corinthians 10:11? How is this a comfort to you?
Elyse Fitzpatrick will make the point in the next few chapters about how who you love is more or less the same as the focus of your worship. Can you list any things that you know right now are idols for you? ( example…For me a big idol in my life is my family and my children. My desire for everything to be ok, IS a big thing that gets in the way of my worship and love of God.)
(This table is from Tim Keller’s book Gospel and Life. It was instrumental for me to come to terms with a few things that WERE standing in the way of my worship and love of God)
My weapon against my idols has become knowledge (yes, I know, it should be every Christian’s!) and I love that Elyse makes comment about this in the last paragraph of page 16. “Not knowledge that consists in mere lifeless facts, but rather a dynamic awareness of the realities of our personal struggle with sinful idolatry and God’s faithfulness to accomplish our deliverance.” Wow.
Have you ever noticed in your life that God’s work of sanctification is sometimes a slow moving process? The growing, changing, falling, developing holiness could almost be charted on timelines throughout our lives couldn’t it? What would your timeline look like? Have there been any significant events that have seen you ‘peak’ or ‘trough’?
The three resources that God has given us; Christ and His atoning work of redemption, The Holy Spirit and the Bible. How do you remind yourself of these resources each day? Or is it something that often slips to the back of your mind as you try to do it all in your own strength?
Next week: Chapter 1 “Rachel’s Gods and You”
What part of the chapter did you enjoy the most?
What line or paragraph stood out as something you hadn’t considered before?
What Bible text means something more to you now that you see it in the context of idols?