“Idols of the heart” has become a well-known phrase in counseling and discipleship literature of recent years. Though some miss the point of this expression by seeking out a “root sin” or “single (and simple) idol” that causes x, y, or z problem, it is meant to refer more broadly to our tendency to follow our desires regardless of God’s will or even the cost. David Powlison’s chapter “I am Motivated When I Feel Desire” is a very useful read on this front. (See David Powlison, Seeing With New Eyes: Counseling and the Human Condition Through the Lens of Scripture [P&R Publishing, 2003], 145-62.)
A couple of months ago, I read James K. A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Baker Academic, 2009) and was delighted to see some of these same ideas about desires fleshed out in a more academic and philosophical venue. Since reading it, I have found his approach useful in my pastoral work, and have been able to share some of his ideas about habit in discipleship settings. I immediately wished there was a book that could deliver these concepts in a more popular format.
Well, today Smith’s book You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit (Brazos, 2016) has begun shipping, and it looks to fit the bill perfectly. If you’re interested in the question of desires or affections, browse the “Look Inside” feature on Amazon. I was impressed with Desiring the Kingdom, so I am optimistic about You Are What You Love, especially in light of Justin Taylor’s very interesting interview with Smith today on his Gospel Coalition blog.
R. Andrew Compton
Christ Reformed Church (URCNA)