Discern your idols

9 07 2012

In a sermon preached on July 8th, I mentioned a list of questions that I have found personally helpful in discerning destructive and deceitful gods that I’ve set up in my own heart in the place where Jesus belongs.  Since preaching this sermon, my inbox and phone have been buzzing with people wondering where they can find this list of questions I referenced.  The questions come from David Clarkson’s “Soul Idolatry Excludes Men From Heaven.”  You can read an appended version of the sermon here.  The caution in all of this is twofold. First, your salvation is not dependent upon your ability to discern your idols, but on the grace of God.  Second, we don’t to turn into a bunch of introspective navel gazers.  We’re to be more concerned with Christ and his majesty than we are with our own sin.  Make sure that introspection doesn’t become a new idol.  We discern our idols so that we can turn away from destructive and deceitful gods and renew our gaze upon Jesus Christ.  So, with that being said, you can click the above links or you can read the 13 points listed below although I really do think you would benefit by clicking this link to read the appended version of Clarkson’s sermon.

1. Esteem. That which we most highly value we make our God. For estimation is an act of soul worship.

2. Mindfulness. That which we are most mindful of we make our God. To be most remembered, to be most minded, is an act of worship which is proper to God, and which he requires as due to himself alone.

3. Intention. That which we most intend we make our god; for to be most intended is an act of worship due only to the true God; for he being the chief good must be the last end.

4. Resolution. What we are most resolved for we worship as God.

5. Love. That which we must love we worship as our God; for love is an act of soul-worship.

6. Trust. That which we most trust we make our god; for confidence and dependence is an act of worship which the Lord calls for as due only to himself.

7. Fear. That which we most fear we worship as our god; for fear is an act of worship.

8. Hope. That which we make our hope we worship as God; for hope is an act of worship.

9. Desire. That which we most desire we worship as our god; for that which is chiefly desired, is the chief good in his account who so desires it; and what he counts his chief good, that he makes his god.

10. Delight. That which we most delight and rejoice in, that we worship as God; for transcendent delight is an act of worship due only to God; and this affection, in its height and elevation, is called glorying.

11. Zeal. That for which we are more zealous we worship as god; for such a zeal is an act of worship due only to God ; therefore it is idolatrous to be more zealous for our own things than for the things of God; to be eager in our own cause, and careless in the cause of God; to be more vehement for our own credit, interests, advantages, than for the truths, ways, honour of God; to be fervent in spirit, in following our own business, promoting our designs, but lukewarm and indifferent in the service of God; to count it intolerable for ourselves to be reproached, slandered, reviled, but manifest no indignation when God is dishonoured, his name, worship, profaned; his truths, ways, people, reviled.

12. Gratitude. That to which we are most grateful, that we worship as God; for gratitude is an act of worship.

13. When our care and industry is more for other things than for God. We cannot serve God and mammon, God and our lusts too, because this service of ourselves, of the world, takes up that care, that industry, those endeavours, which the Lord must have of necessity, if we will serve him as God; and when these are laid out upon the world and our lusts, we serve them as the Lord ought to be served, and so make them our gods.


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