Here are what I consider the best quotes underlined in my Kindle while reading Tim Keller‘s Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters:
What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.
A counterfeit god [idol] is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.
An idol has such a controlling position in your heart that you can spend most of your passion and energy, your emotional and financial resources, on it without a second thought.
The true god of your heart is what your thoughts effortlessly go to when there is nothing else demanding your attention. What do you enjoy daydreaming about? What occupies your mind when you have nothing else to think about?
Idolatry is not just a failure to obey God, it is a setting of the whole heart on something besides God.
When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.
Idols cannot simply be removed. They must be replaced. If you only try to uproot them, they grow back; but they can be supplanted. By what? By God himself, of course. But by God we do not mean a general belief in his existence. Most people have that, yet their souls are riddled with idols. What we need is a living encounter with God.
Idolatry functions widely inside religious communities when doctrinal truth is elevated to the position of a false god. This occurs when people rely on the rightness of their doctrine for their standing with God rather than on God himself and his grace. It is a subtle but deadly mistake. The sign that you have slipped into this form of self-justification is that you become what the book of Proverbs calls a “scoffer.” Scoffers always show contempt and disdain for opponents rather than graciousness. This is a sign that they do not see themselves as sinners saved by grace. Instead, their trust in the rightness of their views makes them feel superior.
Rockbridge Seminary students who completed the fully online course “Christian Worldview and Theology” may also benefit by listening to Tim Keller describe his book in the video below and by reading the reviews that follow: