1 John 2:15-17, 2 Timothy 3:4, Augustine, Biblical Counseling, David Clarkson, Deuteronomy 6:5, Faith, Heart Idoltary, Idols of the Heart, Jeremiah 17:5–10, love, Luke 14:26, Matthew 10:37, Matthew 22:37, Philippians 3:19, Proverbs 3:5, Psalm 118:8–9, Puritan, resolution, Self-Examination, self-examination, Soul Idolatry Excludes Men Out of Heaven, Thirteen Diagnostic Tests for Soul Idolatry, Thomas Watson, trust
4. Resolution: That which is our aim – that thing for which we resolve to set our efforts is what we worship as God. We can see this in three ways.
First, we can consider the degree of our resolve: When we consider the degree of our resolve toward God and compare that with the degree of our resolve toward creature – be it anything – that which gains your most intense resolve is your God. What promise will you not break? Which end will you not miss?
Second, do you resolve for things in this world without condition (our job, a relationship, a material good) and yet put limitations upon our resolution toward God? That which has no condition is our god or God.
Third, if we must have something of the world now – but leave our resolution for God for the future – then that which has our resolution now is our God. If we think, the world can have my morning and God have my deathbed conversion, then God is not your God.
5. Love: That which we must love is our God. Love is the essential act of soul worship. God unquestionably demands the place of the highest and greatest love – he claims the place of that which we must love:
You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. Deuteronomy 6:5 (ESV)
Jesus called this the first and greatest commandment (Matthew 22:37). Other things may be loved, but God must be loved first:
He loves You too little who loves anything together with you, which he loves not for Your sake.
John lays all sins as contrary to the love of the Father:
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. 17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15–17 (ESV)
Those that love pleasure have pleasure as a god (2 Tim. 3:4). Those that love their appetites have their belly as a god (Phil. 3:19). God even demands place before our dearest human relatives (Matt. 10:37; Luke 14:26).
6. Trust: That which we trust most is our God. Trust, a settled dependence upon God and God alone is at the heart of worship and faith. Faith necessarily entails trust. Thus, in Proverbs 3:5, we are instructed to wholly trust God:
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5 (ESV)
Do you trust in your riches – your ability to make money or the money you have (or dream you will have)? Then that is your god. Do you trust in friends – or the ability to make friends? Then such is your god. Yet the LORD is the rightful object of our trust:
8 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man. 9 It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes. Psalm 118:8–9 (ESV)
To trust in something other than the LORD is to make that an idol and seek God’s curse:
5 Thus says the LORD: “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart turns away from the LORD. 6 He is like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see any good come. He shall dwell in the parched places of the wilderness, in an uninhabited salt land. 7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. 8 He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” 9 The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? 10 “I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Jeremiah 17:5–10 (ESV)
Trust in the creature is always idolatrous.
Part one is found here: