he author outlines her purpose in writing: for those who ‘desire to live a godly life yet…struggle against habitual sin and a lack of undivided love’.
It sounds heavy going, but, in fact, has been a refreshing and enlightening journey into my own heart as well as into the ways of God. It is so easy for me to imagine that idolatry is the stuff of other religions, and in that way to absolutely overlook the truth. Idolatry is in me and every other Christian believer whenever and wherever we love anything or anyone more than the Lord Himself. This goes deep, and is for the most part hidden. It is subtle, and often to do with desire or worship. As I have read, I have become aware of desires, both good and bad, and that has enabled me to allow the Holy Spirit to work in those areas.
The book supports the process of examination effectively. Firstly, it is rooted in scripture. Most chapters begin with a short imaginative retelling of a biblical story: Rachel, Rahab, Hannah, Mary of Bethany, and others (this book will appeal especially to women).
There is plenty of explanation and application of these stories and other scriptures to support the reader’s understanding of God’s ways and truth. I found the chapter on God’s Law and commandments, and the thoughts about the first commandment, particularly illuminating.
The author outlines her purpose in writing: for those who ‘desire to live a godly life yet…struggle against habitual sin and a lack of undivided love’.
Secondly, there are very helpful questions at the end of every chapter encouraging study, leading to deeper understanding and change. Answering some of these questions or undertaking the suggested spiritual exercises has had a profound effect upon me.
Thirdly, as Fitzpatrick explains in one chapter, this teaching and thinking about our hearts is made fruitful by the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Along with this comes our deepening appreciation of the person of God, the one who woos us away from other loves by His beauty, character and holiness, by His love and grace. All of this is clearly set before the reader, woven throughout the chapters, inspiring worship of the Lord.
This book makes clear the relationship between loving God and rejecting the idols in our heart. It has a positive focus in drawing the reader towards receiving ‘His grace to teach, incline and direct our hearts to Him’. This one paragraph has been with me for weeks since I first read it: “Does Jesus Christ occupy the first place in this desire? Is He my God, or have I made a god of this longing?” There are many such provoking questions which require the reader to pause and reflect, or statements that one needs to jot down for further thought. It is a book that repays engagement, and has proved to be a rich and transformative text for me.