'We will not overcome idols simply with behavioural change through resolution and willpower. Even if we get rid of one idol we will probably replace it with another. So instead of worshipping sex, for example, we start to idolize the god of our own moral performance. Changing one idol for another is like giving up burglary for a life of internet fraud.
Instead we need to be persuaded in heart, mind and imagination that God's love is the ultimate reality of our lives. That we are loved - loved more than we could ever have hoped for, loved with a love that is pasionate and jealous and committed and powerful. That God knows our sense of need for security, control, approval, affection and comfort. That he meets those needs, as he sees best, in and through Christ.'
'It is important for us to realize that the first and chief reason why we should understand and repudiate idolatry is that it is so deeply insulting to Almighty God. If we start with its effect on us, we make ourselves the centre of everything: we simply analyse idolatry as a cause of depression or anxiety...But that would sell God short.
It is much worse than the source of my own pain: my idolatry sets the stratosphere howling; when I prefer idols to the living God, I send spasms of horror through the galaxy. My drinking from the cisterns of idolatrous sex, idolatrous attitudes to family, idolized careers and accumulated possessions appals the entire universe.'
'Why is it that someone visits a pornographic website? Is it simply out of curiosity? Sometimes maybe. Much more often it is because of a deep sense of personal pain or worthlessness. A feeling of loneliness and need. It is an attempt to find something to dull the pain. Almost every kind of compulsive behaviour is an attempt to anaesthetize a deep personal pain. Unless you reach the core of that pain you won't really deal with the behaviour. So if you want to deal with lust, don't think the love of God is irrelevent. It is right at the heart of what you need.'
'I do not believe that one can settle how much we ought to give. I am afraid the only safe rule is to give more than we can spare. In other words, if our expenditure on comforts, luxuries, amusements, etc., is up to the standard common among those with the same income as our own, we are probably giving away too little. If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small. There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charitable expenditure excludes them.'
'...I said greed is when we love money more than God. That's true, but here's another thing to add to it. Greed is when we love money more than God and do not love God with our money. Refusing to share our money is a sign that we have made money our God.'
'You say grace before meals.
But I say grace before the play and the opera,
And grace before the concert and pantomime,
And grace before I open a book,
And grace before sketching, painting,
Swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing;
And grace before I dip the pen into the ink.' GK Chesterton in Julian Hardyman, Idols, p.37.
'The Bible used the picture of idolatry as a way of describing anything that takes the place of the true God in our lives. Not depictions of the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite, but mental images of naked bodies. Not literal temples where we go to worship real statues, but inner urges for more and more. Not stone altars to sacrifice on, but bragging about the money in the bank and the turnover of the market stall. It's all idolatry: putting something else in God's place.'
Julian Hardyman, Idols: God's Battle for Our Hearts, p.15.
'Home...is a powerful but elusive concept. The strong feeling that surround it reveal some deep longing within us for a place that absolutely fits and suits us, where we can be, or perhaps find, our true selves. Yet it seems that no real place or actual family ever satisfies these yearnings, though many situations arouse them.'
'He is not a Pharisee about Pharisees; he is not self-righteous about self-righteousness. Nor should we be. He not only loves the wild-living, free spirited people, but also hardened religious people.'
'The tree of life my soul hath seen,
Laden with fruit, and always green:
The trees of nature fruitless be
Compared with Christ the apple tree.
His beauty doth all things excel:
By faith I know, but ne'er can tell
The glory which I now can see
In Jesus Christ the apple tree.
For happiness I long have sought,
And pleasure dearly I have bought:
I missed of all; but now I see
'Tis found in Christ the apple tree.
I'm weary with my former toil,
Here I will sit and rest awhile:
Under the shadow I will be,
Of Jesus Christ the apple tree.
This fruit doth make my soul to thrive.
It keeps my dying faith alive;
Which makes my soul in haste to be
With Jesus Christ the apple tree.' Anonymous (Traditional American Christmas Song) in Kris Lungaard, Through the Looking Glass, p.116.
'...these are not stories and words from a different family, with different ancestors, but from our family, from our ancestors. For the Bible is about the one people of God in every generation, and the Bible is for the one people of God in every generation.'
'They have a queer way of talking, like people who, instead of proceeding in an orderly manner, ramble off from one thing to the next, so that you cannot make head or tail of them or see what they are getting at.'
Martin Luther in Bruce K Waltke, A Commentary on Micah, p.13.
'...Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones, a physician by training, had an an advantage over most pastors. He would sometimes take one look at a person coming into his vestry and say "Your problem is your liver" - and urge them to see a doctor. There are any any number of problems that have their origin in one's physical health - whether irritability, sleeplessness, depression or anxiety. Dr Lloyd-Jones and I used to discuss the issue of Christian psychology and counselling. He always insisted that a person should be sure they were healthy - physically. If there is a doubt, one should get a good physical examination! This is sometimes the place to begin.'