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Top Quotes on Counterfeit Gods by Timothy Keller

  • “There’s only one way to change at the heart level…and that’s through the gospel.”
  • “Achievement is the alcohol of our time. These days, the best people don’t abuse alcohol…they abuse their lives.” – Mary Bell (a counselor of high performing executives)
  • “One sign that you’ve made success an idol is the false sense of security it brings. The poor and the marginalized expect suffering. They know that life on this earth is nasty, brutish and short. Successful people are much more shocked and overwhelmed by troubles.”
  • I’ve often heard people from the upper echelon say “Life isn’t supposed to be this way” when they face tragedy. I have never heard this language among the working class and poor. This false sense of security comes from deifying our achievement and expecting it to keep us safe from the troubles of life when only God can.
  • If your success is more than just success to you, if it’s the measure of your value and worth, then accomplishment in one limited area of your life will make you believe that you have expertise in all others. This of course, leads to all kinds of bad choices and decisions. This distorted view of yourself is part of the blindness to reality that the Bible says always accompanies idolatry (Psalm 135:15-18; Ezek 36:22-36).
  • “The main sign that we are into success idolatry is that we find that we cannot maintain our self-confidence in life unless we remain at the top of our chosen field.”
  • “I don’t believe the economic motive and the erotic motive account for everything that goes on in the world. It’s a lust…a longing to be inside, [which] takes many forms…You want…the delicious knowledge that just we four or five—we are the people who (really) know… As long as you are governed by that desire you will never be satisfied. Until you conquer the fear of being an outsider, an outsider you will remain…” – C.S. Lewis
  • “Success can’t deliver the satisfaction we’re looking for.”
  • “The secret to change is to identify and dismantle the counterfeit gods of your heart. It is impossible to understand a culture without discerning its idols.”
  • “If you ask for something that you don’t get…you may become sad and disappointed, then you go on. Those are not your functional masters. But when you pray and hope for something and you don’t get it and you respond with explosive anger or deep despair, then you may have found your real god.”
  • “What are you looking to in order to justify yourself? Whatever it is, is a counterfeit god. And to make a change in your life, you must identify it and reject it as such.”
  • “You may know about the love of Christ with your head, but not your heart. How can that be remedied? This takes spiritual disciplines.”
  • “Spiritual disciplines are forms of worship. And it is worship that is the final way to replace the idols of your heart. You can’t just get relief by figuring out your idols intellectually. You have to actually get the peace that Jesus gives…and that only comes when you worship. Analysis can help you discover truths, but then you have to pray them into your heart. That takes time.”
  • Pick up a copy of Counterfeit Gods: The Empty Promises of Money, Sex, and Power, and the Only Hope that Matters today. Seriously. You won’t regret it. It’s that good.

     This article originally appeared here.