With his book Not a Fan currently riding high atop most lists of Christian bestsellers, Southeast Christian Church pastor Kyle Idleman is back with his second title, Gods at War: Defeating The Idols That Battle for Your Heart (Zondervan).
This is a book about the various things in life we idolize, creating idols which compete with God who does not want to share top spot in our lives with anything else. You get a sense of that in this excerpt, part of which reads:
…When we hear God say, “You shall have no other gods before me,” we think of it as a hierarchy: God is always in first place. But there are no places. God isn’t interested in competing against others or being first among many.
God will not be part of any hierarchy.
He wasn’t saying “before me” as in “ahead of me.” A Better understanding of the Hebrew word translated “before me” is “in my presence.”
God declines to sit atop an organizational flowchart. He is the organization. He is not interested in being president of the board. He is the board. And life doesn’t work until everyone else sitting around the table in the boardroom of your heart is fired. He is God, and there are no other applicants for that position. There are no partial gods, no honorary gods, no interim gods, no assistants to the regional gods.
God is saying this not because he is insecure but because it’s the way of truth in this universe, which is his creation. Only one God owns and operates it. Only one God designed it, and only one God knows how it works…
Kyle Idleman – Gods At War pp. 23-24
While there are definite echoes of things you’ve read elsewhere, Kyle is writing for a new generation of Christian book readers; possibly some for whom Not a Fan was even their first cover-to-cover read of a Christian title; and others who are or will be doing the related six-lesson curriculum study or will be watching the live simulcast on February 27th from City on a Hill Productions.
He divides the various gods that compete for our affection and attention into three categories according to where we find them: In the temple of pleasure (food, sex, entertainment), in the temple of power (success, money, achievement), and in the temple of love (romance, family, self-worship).
The book is a tapestry of contemporary and Biblical stories and for the current ones, QR codes and websites link you to original interview content on video. My only complaint is the lack of a wrap-up chapter, the book ended all too abruptly, but Kyle did warn us that the final god he considers is somewhat at the heart of all the others.
Watch a book trailer for Gods at War here