7 comments on “Heart Idols? | Institute for Nouthetic Studies | Blog – Biblical Counseling

  1. So we ask Jay, “What about 1 John’s closing comment?”

    Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.


  2. One’s “over” sleeping could be laziness, which is a sin.

    A coveting of comfort to the neglect of one’s duties would be another, which I am sure Jay would go after.

    What DID John mean, just li’l Buddhas or Rosaries, and such?


  3. From the comment thread on the original post:

    Joanne on August 6, 2014 at 7:46 am said:
    I’m reminded of Jesus’ words “Where your treasure is, there your heart shall be also,” in Matt. 6:21. I know the context is the storing up of possessions that supposedly offer security and most assuredly divert our attention away from God. Don’t we sometimes elevate those possessions to positions of worship? And if we do, wouldn’t they be considered idols? For instance, ancient people worshiped statues and gods for prosperity, which the Lord calls idols. Can it not be said that while our focus is not on material figurines, the craving for anything other than God takes on idol status?

    Reply ↓
    Donn R Arms
    on August 6, 2014 at 9:31 am said:
    “Can it not be said . . .”


    Sure, anything “can be said” but the idea that “craving for anything other than God takes on idol status” is a metaphor YOU have constructed. It does not rise from the Scriptures. With perhaps one exception, Scripture just does not use the term “idol” in this way. Jay’s point is that it is an artificial construct and, for the counselor, it is misleading and unhelpful. Counselors cannot know what is happening in a counselees heart, only God can.


  4. Are all sins idols? Certainly all idolatry is sinful.

    At least one sin is plainly called idolatry, covetousness (Col. 3:5). And it appears that covetousness is the root of the other sins there mentioned: Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (They’re in decreasing order of outward manifestation.)

    Idolatry is something we’re told to flee, 1 Cor. 10:14 (cf. 1 John 5:21).

    And it’s listed as *a* sin, smack dab between lasciviousness and witchcraft, in Gal. 5:20.

    So it appears that idolatry is a kind of sin. Covetousness is equated with idolatry, and I think that’s where the heart issue comes in.

    The “over-sleeper” (to use Jay’s illustration) may be such b/c of covetousness/ idolatry, and hence, has sin of which to repent.

    Obviously, fatigue, physical necessity, and if one is not neglecting duties, would put it out of the covetous range, so it does get back to the “why” of our behavior. But the sluggard is denounced in the Proverbs a few times.

    To call all sin “idolatry” seems legit only as we see that all sin is rooted in SELF: Selfishness & self-centeredness which manifest in covetousness, comfort above duty, riches (mammon), sexual sin, drunkenness, or a host of others.

    I think the biblical case can be made that the ultimate idol we all struggle with is selfishness.


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