The August 2019 First Baptist Powell Women’s Retreat was a sweet time of fellowship, fun, and most importantly, time in the Word. The theme for the weekend was “Treasuring Christ Together,” with a message from featured speaker Leslie Bennett of Revive Our Hearts.

A Priceless Treasure and a Thief

Leslie began by telling the legend of the Spoonmaker’s Diamond. According to the tale, a poor fisherman unknowingly found an 86 carat diamond, which he thought was just a rock. He thought it looked interesting, so he took it to a jeweler who deceived him into thinking it was worthless. For his trouble, the jeweler offered to give him three spoons in exchange for the “worthless” diamond. The fisherman knew he could use the spoons and thought he had no use for the rock, so he made the trade. 

We are often much like the poor fisherman, trading our real Treasure for “spoons.” Three spoons we exchange for the Treasure are: 1. religious activity over an intimate relationship with God; 2. gifts of God over the gift-Giver; and 3. idols over worship of the One true God.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Matthew 6:21

The Totem Pole of Our Hearts

Next, Leslie showed us a photo of a totem pole carved by Native Americans. Totem poles tell a story through the figures carved into them, with the most important figure or part of the story located at the top. A totem pole can have only one “first place” figure.

Similarly, our priorities in life should be vertical, like a totem pole, with only one spot at the top. The order of our totem pole should be 1. God; 2. Spouse+Yourself (because if you’re married, you are one unit); 3. Family; 4. Friends; and 5. Ministry.

If you allow your totem pole to become horizontal, with multiple things or people in the top spot, your life will be out of balance. In order to love and serve others well, you must love and serve God first.

Identifying Idols Lurking in the Heart

When you hear the word “idol” you may think of golden calves or Buddha statues, but an idol is anything you place before God in your heart. God’s blessings, such as your spouse, your children, your career, and your home, can become idols if you let them. Idols are not always bad in and of themselves, but they become idols when you elevate them above Christ.

A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.

Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods

Identifying idols lurking in your heart is the first step towards getting your focus back on God.

The Root of Idols

While there are a multitude of idols, most have at their root at least one of the following: 1. power and control; 2. approval and affirmation; or 3. security and safety.

If you are motivated by the idols which have power and control at their root, you might often experience uncontrollable anger, manipulation to get your own way, and bullying when you lose power. The idols of approval and affirmation show themselves through sadness that washes over you when you’re rejected and doing things with the motivation to be recognized or loved. Finally, idols fueled by the need for security and safety are characterized by extreme anxiety, being a “helicopter” parent, and being motivated by fear.

Demolishing Idols of the Heart

Once your eyes are opened that you have an idol, praise God! The battle is almost over. At this point, repent by hating your sin and turning back to God. Lay down lesser loves by holding tightly to Christ and lightly to all else. Finally, lay up your treasure in heaven; idol worship must be replaced with true Treasure, which is found in Christ alone.

Source: This blog is a recap of Leslie Bennett’s lesson, Treasuring Christ in a World of Thieves.