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Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters Paperback – October 4, 2011
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For the faithful and the seeker- the inspiring New York Times bestseller from the author of The Reason for God.Harsh economic realities are casting new light on the pursuits of sex, money, and success for happiness: careers, fortunes, marriages, and retirement security have collapsed. Many feel lost, disenchanted, and resentful.
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I was uncertain about reading it fearing it would just make me more angry with religion than I already was. So I took a risk and eventually downloaded it.... After the first chapter I wasn't sure I liked it... the examples given seemed to say that if you weren't fortunate enough to end up with good relationships it was somehow due to your lust and idolatry. The Leah Jacob Rachel marriage debacle didn't help because of the many hot messes in the bible that God allowed its a pretty big one. Its also probably one of the most misinterpreted bible stories used tell women to stay in unloving unfaithful marriages because God will bless them.... Or that ongoing debate of how not wanting to be single and wanting a stable marriage and a family makes you either ungrateful, desperate, or lacking in faith.
Despite my opposition I kept reading....I'm glad I did....., the book got MUCH better the explanation of idols as not something we do wrong but actually the foundation of all sin and original sin was the catalyst for idolatry, the desire to live apart from God and manage our own lives as if we can control something..... The concept that in this broken world so many factors play into the lives we end up with and lack of FAITH has NOTHING to do with it was like taking a breath of fresh clean air. That one negative belief that has kept me in bondage for YEARS is that I can earn brownie points with God by being a good church going, tithe paying, Sunday school teaching, bible reading, Christian only music listening, modest dressing, polite, abstaining Christian woman. Finally a pastor was admitting that life isn't all about moral behavior and you can't earn your way into blessings or God's mercy and grace. Don't get me wrong I think moral behavior is important but it has to be for the right reasons , which is to glorify God, frankly most examples I had seen were based on getting human approval or people pleasing which is a form of idolatry.
He discussed this in excellent detail. He went over every area of idolatry and male and female idolatry and really explored this basic sin. He even admitted to maintain his own idolatry and that its an ongoing process.... for the first time in years I didn't feel like a lonely loser Christian who somehow didn't have faith the right way to not have a crap life.... In the end I not only understood the idols in my life that I needed to work on but I had a renewed hope in God that despite I was 40 divorced single and childless I still have worth in Gods eyes. But God doesn't judge me and he loves me and sees how hard I try. I just have to work on letting God love me in the ways the humans in my life haven't and healing is waiting for me if I'm willing to let go of what the world/church says my life is supposed to look like... God Always will love me and Always has I just couldn't see it because I placed to much importance on my human relationships for happiness. Don't get me wrong I'm not going to become a hermit. I will however be thankful for the family and friends I have left, and focus on replacing my idols with the love God has always had for me.
With each passing day being alone is not feeling so lonely. Thanks for this book. If anyone who reads this has experienced any life hardships or doubts or you are just feeling lost in life then read this book... its really surprisingly nothing like what I expected at all and I'm so thankful for that.
Tip: Be sure to check the footnotes esp on kindle he gives a lot of information for further study to let go of idols and experience God love, as well as, he gives good points that can't fit in the book. He took one section about the slave girl when discussing power and pride idolatry and in the notes was very clear that taking abuse or neglect was not acceptable and that biblical times had certain standards. All I can say is if you are struggling in your relationships in life or your relationships with God read this book
Keller does a masterful job in expanding and explaining this theme of "idols of the heart" by drawing from Christian sources (Bible, some biblical counseling), observations of our society, philosophical and historical writers, and pastoral experience. His outstanding ability to pull insights from these sources and present them in an engaging way will, I believe, continue to put Keller's books at the top of the list for explaining and promoting Christian belief and spiritual growth.
The end of the book ends appropriately by answering the question that is on the mind of every reader: So how does someone truly worship the one true God in life? He answers by saying the truth that many Christians have heard before but need to hear again in regards to this pivotal question: "This takes what are called 'the spiritual disciplines,' such as private prayer, corporate worship, and meditation. The disciplines take cognitive knowledge and make it a life-shaping reality in our hearts and imaginations." (175). We truly worship God by infusing our lives with His Word which displays the wonder of His character, the Gospel message, tells us how to live pleasing to Him, and by drawing into His presence in prayer as we seek to live for Him in every moment of life. Truly I hope that Keller writes a book on these spiritual disciplines mentioned in his statement that will explain how to live for God in every moment of our lives in greater detail.
Every book on Christian spirituality should move readers to render worship to the one true God in spirit and in truth, and this book accomplishes this with great insight and clarity. In the end this is a fantastic book that I highly encourage every Christian to read.
Finally, he ends the book with a proposed solution. The solution is not to love good things less. Idolatry cannot be remedied by repenting alone or by making up your mind that you’re going to live differently. The solution is to love God more! The idol must be replaced by the Gospel, through God’s grace in Christ. Keller’s even and gracious tone is what sets this book apart. I highly recommend “Counterfeit Gods.”