Idols of the Heart

On Friday, November 11, 2011, LTi is hosting an event at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary entitled “Re-Ignited: Kindling Your Inner Fire for God” with special guest speaker Chris Webb (and yours truly). In anticipation of that event I am focusing my weekly blogs on the topic, “What are the winds that blow toward your soul and seek to extinguish your inner flame for God?”

Part three: the idols of our heart. Not just our “American Idols” (as in the hit television show), but anything we cling to more intimately than God. To those people, places, experiences, ideas, and things that captivate the love (and lust) of our hearts (anything you believe you “must” have), God states clearly in his first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.”(Exodus 20: 3-6)
Idols, or attachments, are those attitudes, possessions, people, and/or activities that we cling to and find more pleasurable than the worship, generosity, relationships, and service that God calls us to embrace. Our idols are manifested in our disoriented hearts that long more for created things than for the Creator. We crave money, sex, and power, being right, in control of outcomes, living securely, and comfortably entertained. We want to have all that this world affords, often for the cheapest and quickest cost. Our drivenness is often skewed toward personal strength (i.e. obsessing over body image via compulsive exercise or grooming, or becoming overly greedy for material gain) and rarely toward humble weakness and sacrificial service to others (as expressed in devotion to God’s Word, prayer, worship, righteous living, and sacrificial generosity).
When we pursue daily longings that lead us away from God we are feeding our propensity to idolatry. As a result, the idols and attachments of our lives need to be open-handedly surrendered to God. We need to genuinely confess that we indeed have idols that need to be relinquished – identifying them one by one. We need to seek the forgiveness of Christ, release the grip of our attachments, and find freedom in submission to the work of God’s Spirit deep within us.
Is it time to address your idols by name, purge yourself of all unwholesome attachments, purify your heart and return prayerfully to the Lord in worship once more? The love and joy that awaits you is worth every ounce of sweet release.

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Steve Macchia

Founder & President

The Rev. Dr. Stephen A. Macchia is founder and president of Leadership Transformations, Inc. (LTI), a ministry serving the spiritual formation, discernment, and renewal of leaders and learners since 2003. For more than 20 years he has been the Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, where he also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the Doctor of Ministry Program. From 1989-2003 he was the president of Vision New England, the largest regional church renewal association in the country. Earlier in his ministry life, Steve was a member of the pastoral staff of Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts for 11 years. He is the author or co-author of 17 books, including The Discerning Life (Zondervan Reflective), and Crafting a Rule of Life, Becoming A Healthy Church (LTI), and Broken and Whole (IVP).  He and his wife Ruth live in the Boston (MA) area and are the proud parents of two married children and grandparents to three adorable grandchildren. Steve’s personal website is www.SteveMacchia.com.

My soul comes alive singing the great hymns of the church and enjoying the beauty of God’s creation. I’m in awe of God for fulfilling the dream for LTI that he birthed in my heart, for the team he has assembled, and the transformational impact experienced in the leaders and teams we serve.

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Mitzi Mak

Selah-West Faculty

Mitzi started her professional life as a high school social studies teacher. She and her husband Jerry then served cross-culturally for ten+ years, living abroad first in India and then Kurdistan, N. Iraq. In addition to being a Spiritual Director, she now serves as a Formation and Care pastor in her local church in Houston, TX. She has graduated from LTI’s Selah Spiritual Direction training as well as LTI’s Emmaus Formational Leadership Program.

Mitzi enjoys engaging conversation, reading fiction, doing jigsaw/crossword puzzles, ocean gazing and exploring the world with Jerry through food and travel.

God has two main callings in Mitzi’s life: to care for those who care for others and to be a guide in helping others have a healthy relationship with the Trinity – recognizing God’s loving presence and activity in their lives and how to faithfully respond.

Selah was a transformative experience for me – allowing the contemplative within to emerge and to beautifully co-exist with my extraverted personality.