Day 29: How to crush your kingdoms

Yesterday we looked specifically at the approval idol and how we need to look to God to fill the need for affirmation and approval.

Continuing that thought, let’s look at how to overcome the control, power, and comfort idols.

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If you greatly value self-discipline; if you hold everyone, including your self to certain standards; if you worry constantly about things you can’t change, then you may be dealing with an idol of control. With a control idol, life only has meaning if you gain mastery over a specific area(s). This one trips me up a lot, though not nearly as much as approval. It’s also interesting because control can go to both sides of the spectrum. Sometimes people who are constantly dieting or obsessing over weight/size are really struggling with an idol of control. When a lot of my life might feel out of control, I sometimes find myself overeating because it’s one thing I can control. Some people may obsessively clean their home or body in an effort to control, while others may exhibit slovenly behavior from the same need to control.

Contrast this with Romans 8:28:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Our vain attempts are control are just that – in vain. Pointless. God is the one who has all things under his control.

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What about power? Are you someone who has to win at all costs? Is success the name of the game? This may mean that you prize work and climbing the corporate ladder above everything else. It could mean that you wish to exert your influence over the people around you. It may be that you want to win at anything you do. Other people are often seen as pawns to be used as you feel helps you the best. You may feel anger at others who attempt to exert power over you or when you cannot have influence over a circumstance. With a power idol you only feel that you have worth if you have power and significance over others.

The answer to this lies in Psalm 145:8:

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.

God is gracious and compassionate to you and so you can let go of your need to exert power over others and instead be gracious and compassionate. 

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And, lastly, for those of you who identify with the idol of comfort. As pointed out in a comment, this doesn’t necessarily mean luxury, but instead seeking ease or lack of stress as the most important thing. If you desire your privacy above serving others, you may be struggling with a comfort idol. You may find yourself choosing the easy road, the path of least resistance. You may not accomplish as much with your life, but you’ll make sure you don’t have a lot of stress put on you. Life only has meaning if a certain quality of life, pleasure or experience happens.

Cling to this instead, from Psalm 16:11:

You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

Instead of looking to pleasures to bring you comfort, look to Christ for the fullness of joy and pleasures that never end.

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I hope that this look at idols hasn’t weighed you down too much. It’s hard to look face-to-face at some of the ugliness of sin within us. Don’t be discouraged, but look to Christ instead. We’ll talk more tomorrow about the joys that wait on the other side of the coin.

Because it’s national cat day (who knew?) – I’m sharing this of one of my two babies:

Silly cat playing in tea package

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Catch up on every post in the series here:

crushing your kingdoms

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Day 26: Four kingdoms (root idols)

apple orchardHave you had a chance to think through those questions from the You are here post? I sat down and went through each one. Frankly, I wasn’t surprised at my answers, even though I didn’t really like them. They pretty much confirmed what I guessed.

These questions are digging at determining the sin underneath the sin that drives most of our sinful behavior and other idolatries in our lives. I’ve heard several pastors and authors teach that these boil down to four big ones:

Comfort
Approval
Control
Power

The Journey Church in St. Louis did a series that includes these: Transformation. The sermon, Loving People by Uprooting Idols, in particular hits on this. If you  want to spend some time learning more about crushing kingdoms, these are a great resource. I know my church has preached on this, but I couldn’t find the audio anywhere. 😦

So, here’s the deal:

If your answers pointed to lack of stress, freedom or privacy, where your greatest nightmares are stress and demands on you, then you most likely have a comfort idol.

If your answers  leaned toward finding affirmation, love or relationships and your greater fear is to be rejected, then you are dealing with an approval idol.

Do you fear uncertainty and worry a lot? Do you regard standards and self-discipline above all else? This is the idol of control.

Is success the name of the game? Is everything about winning or asserting your influence over others? Then you’re looking at a power idol.

fallen applesThis is deep, heavy stuff, if you take time to really look at your heart and where your affections lie. I’d encourage you to go back through the questions and take inventory in where you have rooted your time, attention, and heart.

Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting! – Psalm 139:23-24

Above all, spend time in prayer over this. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your thoughts. These deeply rooted idols are not removed without God’s help. But, it begins with a willing spirit to see what lies between you and God. One way might be to spend time praying through Psalm 51, David’s cry of forgiveness to God.

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We continue to work through the series, Crushing Your Kingdoms, this month, with only a handful of days left. Click below to view the index of all posts in this series.

crushing your kingdoms

  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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