Book: “Idols of the Heart, Learning to Long for God Alone”
LESSON: Lesson#3, Chapter #3
Summary and Comments
“So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.” Romans7:12
“Sometimes a simple action can speak volumes about character.” “We should seek an obedient life because our obedience, as flawed as it always is, remains the one infallible sign that we belong to Christ (see 1 John 2:3).”1
This week’s lesson was very instructive and serves as a reminder to us of the ease of our hearts and actions to violate God’s good and lawful commandments and to set up idols both in our hearts and minds and to worship everything and anything before Him. Fitzpatrick calls on us to read the commandments again and especially to reflect on the 1st Commandment “You shall have no other gods before Me,” and that means not only the heathen gods of the false religions of the world but also, as we have seen in past studies, the idols of the heart, those things that are good in themselves but become idols because of our sinfulness and misplaced worship. God/Christ is first in our life period. We do not have any other alternative but to place Him first, in everything. He is God and deserves all praise, honor, glory, thankfulness and obedience as He has called us to in the commandments in the Old Testament and New Testament. We are not Antinomians. God forbid. We do not think because we are saved and kept by the power of God that we do not have to obey the Scriptures. To the contrary, because we are saved, we will place Christ and His word first in our lives and obey, as much as lies within us as sinful people still enclosed in flesh, obedience to them. We are not legalists. We do not “keep the law” for the
purposes of gaining anything from God but we “keep” the law insofar as obedience to it for the glory of our God and thankfulness for what He has already done in eternity past, revealed in time, in our lives for us now and eternally.
Listen to what Fitzpatrick says about the use of the moral law for the Christian:
1. “The law helps by serving as a tutor;
2. The law also humbles me and brings me to the end of my self-righteousness;
3. The law teaches me how thankful I am to be for Christ’s perfect keeping of it;
4. The law becomes the standard of righteousness that I seek to obey out of thankfulness.”2
She goes on to say, “Yes, the moral law as summarized in the Ten Commandments is a wonderful gift. We should look at it as “ten friends to guard our ways.” It humbles us and convicts us, it fills us with thankfulness for our Saviour’s meek obedience, and it prompts us to learn how to live a life that will place Him.” 3
We were reminded in the chapter of the folly of disobedience and outright disregard of God’s law. We see it in Lot’s wife and we see it daily with the unbeliever and unfortunately, we see it in our own lives. We suffer much due to our own placing other things, other folks, other well-meaning and well-intentioned things before Christ’s clear and “for our good” mandates before us. As some would say, “we want our cake and eat it too” — i.e., we want Christ but want to do our “own thing” and use our sinful non-wisdom placed above
His good and wise counsel. We still want baby food and fluffy, emotional, tear-jerker, oh me, oh my, self-satisfying dogma rather than the truth of Christ and His marvelous love and grace at work in our lives. Many times as believers we suffer for righteousness sake but we also suffer for our own idolatry and self-serving means to an end rather than placing our King of kings and Beloved Husband, Christ, first in our lives. Would be to God that He would always have first place. Pray that it might be so in your life and that this study will be the very tool that God uses to draw you back to His Word and those commandments He has given us as a guide or “tutor” for us and our children to the praise of His glorious grace.
For me personally, this week’s study has been a reminder of the need for the gospel to go out not only in the foreign mission fields abroad but in our own backyards, over the fence, down the street, and though we may suffer for it, our God is first and He will bless us, keep us, and He will receive the praise and glory for it. It is good to be His servant, blessed with His Holy Spirit and with the desire to “clear out” the idols of the world in practice, heart and mind.
1/ Elyse Fitzpatrick, “Idols of the Heart, Learning to Long for God Alone” p. 45,53
2/ [Idols, p. 51-52]
3/ [Idols, p. 53]