Although I read a lot of self-help books, I’d rather read an adventure any day. Give me lost travelers, hidden treasure and epic battles. Figuratively speaking, that’s exactly what Kyle Idleman does in Gods at War. He introduces the reader to many of the villains secretly fighting for our moral allegiance. Using a casual style replete with personal and Biblical examples, this is an easy read which is also psychologically and theologically sound. It held my attention like a great adventure and challenged me to fight God’s battles in my own heart. [Clarification: this is a nonfiction book and is not written as an adventure story ala Peretti. It’s a straightforward, in-your-face challenge to take a look at the idols in your life.]
Christians automatically recognize some priorities as troublesome, like money and success. But Idleman includes others which may seem wholly good, such as family. In talking about “disordered loves,” Idleman recounts the story of a woman who realized her kids had become too powerful in her life: “Her children, and what was going on with them, determined whether she had a good day. If they behaved themselves and didn’t throw any tantrums, she could feel good about life. Otherwise, she could not… She realized they were controlling who she was as a person…This is exactly what a false god does” (p. 216). I must tell you that this resonated with me, and it wasn’t the only paragraph which did.
I am giving this book my highest recommendation. Buy one copy for yourself and another to give away. If I could only recommend one book on idolatry, I would choose this one – even over Tim Keller’s excellent Counterfeit Gods. Kyle Idleman’s first book is entitled Not a Fan. I haven’t read it yet, but I plan to. If Gods at War is any indication, I am a fan!