Dee Brestin on Idol Lies
Brestin discusses how Jesus set her free from her own idols.
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When Jesus said, “Martha, Martha” he was concerned about her heart idol – for heart idols, like cancer, destroy. Her heart idol could have been control (common among leaders) or affirmation (she really might have been the Martha Stewart of biblical days and this was her chance to shine.)
I began to see. I used guilt. I made side-ways comments. I was anxious and worried about many things. Body language is a clue that hidden heart idols are lurking.
As He said, “Martha, Martha,” now Jesus was saying, “Dee, Dee.”
Explain what you mean when you write about attacking the root problem-recognizing three main categories of deep heart idols.
So often when we are plagued with a problem, we attack the symptom. If we are suffering from over-eating, over-spending, or over-hitting snooze on the alarm, we think, I’ll get a better diet, a better budget, a better alarm clock. In each of these examples, the root problem may be a comfort idol. Attaching the symptom won’t work – for as soon as we restrict the comfort idol with a new diet, budget, or alarm – he WILL FIGHT and he usually WILL WIN. Instead, if we address the root there is hope. In Psalm 42, the psalmist kept asking his soul, “What are you downcast?” And then, he spoke to his soul, “Put your hope in God.” When we substitute food, money, or laziness for God – that is idolatry. Idols cannot be removed – only replaced. So it is a matter of walking in faith, trusting that God will meet you. It isn’t a quick fix – but it is the only one that is efficacious.
I credit Tim Keller with first categorizing the three main heart idols: Comfort/Security, Affirmation/Approval and Power/Control.
You say that God uses a shocking metaphor to awaken us to our hidden heart idols - what is it?
It’s laced all through the prophets, but is particularly bold in Jeremiah and Hosea. God says we are like adulterers and adulteresses – spreading our legs under every tree. (Jeremiah 2:20) We do not trust Him to meet our needs – so we, like Gomer, run after our lovers and forget the Lord (Hosea 2:13) Sin is not just breaking a rule – it’s breaking the heart of God. Idolatry is infidelity. Derek Kidner says, “It is a bold and creative stroke by which God, instead of banning sexual imagery from religion, rescues and raises it to portray the ardent love and fidelity which are the essence of His covenant.”
When the women in my pilot studies saw that they weren’t just breaking a rule, but breaking God’s heart – the were grieved in a way that produced change.