A.B. Simpson – “As long as you want anything very much, especially more than you want God, it is an idol.”
John Calvin – “Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols.”
Exodus 20 – “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them.”
Matthew 22:36-37 – “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
ARE YOU READY FOR WAR
The gods at war video series challenges us with the thought that perhaps all sin springs from the same source – IDOLATRY. While we may not see many “graven images” in our world today, there are still countless gods passionately at war for the throne of our heart. If we put the wrong god on the throne, our lives will be thrown into chaos, and all our efforts at sin management will be futile. Only by recognizing our misplaced worship and by enthroning Jesus can we experience freedom and life.
While there are many gods at war for our hearts, we have chosen to focus on five in particular: gods of pleasure, gods of love, gods of money, gods of power, and the god of me. (…) In these compelling stories, we will see some reflection of ourselves, and recognize the true battle that lies at the heart of all our sin struggles. These stories also point the way to victory as we see the kind of life transforming power that Christ is ready to pour out in our lives as well. (excerpt from Leader’s guide)
- As we start this series called gods at war, what are your thoughts or feelings? Any initial reactions / expectations?
(Answers may vary considerably)
- What is your experience with war, whether it comes primarily from watching movies or documentary footage, from hearing the stories of relatives or friends who have been in combat?
War involves a conflict between different sides. One must choose between one side against the other, like Jesus saying that those who are not for him are against him.
War involves death and sacrifice to achieve one's goals.
READ JOSHUA 24:1-28
- Renewal of Israel's covenant upon entering the promised land
- Important verses: 14-15 – "Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve".
One must choose for himself whether or not to follow God or some other "god". This decision is not "inherited" from one's parents, friends, or culture but is a decision one has to make for one's self. This decision is not a one time decision but is an every-day decision to follow God over some other sin that seeks to separate us from Him.
Furthermore, Joshua doesn't mention the possibility of not choosing any god at all. This could mean that not worshiping a god is not an option. If one chooses not to worship the One True God, they will inevitably worship a counterfeit god – pleasure, love, money, power and even one's self, etc. This counterfeit god will never satisfy the emptiness left by not putting the True God at the center of one's life.
Sometimes it is difficult to accept that a counterfeit "god" is waging a war for our hearts. These questions can allow us to search our hearts to discover these "gods":
- What has left you most disappointed?
- For what do you sacrifice time and money?
- What do you worry about?
- Where do you go for comfort?
- What makes you mad?
- What do you dream of?
- Whose encouragement means the most to you?
These questions may help us think about what we prioritize or consider important in our lives, thereby revealing if God is truly at the center of our hearts, "for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also".