Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen. ~1 John 5:21
The Apostle John wrote 1 John to the church at Ephesus. This was a prominent first-century church with a glorious start, gifted pastors, gainful influence, but also, a grievous condition. Over time, the church had been permeated with false doctrine and a drift towards the world. John, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, does a masterful job of addressing the issues that the church was facing and encouraging them to live with a victorious faith. His very last statement to this body of believers is that they keep themselves from idols. This final statement is a sobering reminder to all churches of the insidious nature of idols in the church.
There is the concept regarding idols.
An idol is a “god” that has the center of our attention and worship. It is something that we are willing to give our time, talent, and treasure to. It is something that is in direct competition with God for our affection, devotion, and worship.
There is the concern regarding idols.
Idols can be tangible or intangible. In our culture, a Christian is confronted with the idols of business, education, wealth achievement, social prominence, and self. Social media has become the modern-day “high place” where people unashamedly flaunt their achievements, whereabouts, associations, and deeds with a boastful intent. The typical American gives a large portion of his week for the advancement of his educational and materialistic goals. John saw idolatry affecting the devotion of the hearts of the members at the church at Ephesus, and he was concerned.
There is corruption from idols.
Idolatry is terribly corrupting. When idolatry enters the church, it spreads through peer influence, friendly entertainment, and time idled away in unprofitable talk. Idols always appear harmless because we do not see their slow, cancerous effect on our beliefs and behavior. When one family sees something that another family has, there is an underlying covetousness that develops in the visiting family. When one student gets heavily involved with multiple school activities to the point where church attendance is affected, this influences other students in the same manner. Idolatry is corrupting.
There is the caution concerning idols.
John lovingly but bluntly says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” The permeation of idolatry is correlated with our spiritual level. The believers at Ephesus were like little, naïve children. The best advice that he could give them was to establish boundaries in their life to prevent idolatry from overtaking them. They needed to identify the idols affecting their heart and immediately distance themselves from them. Know where the problem can enter in and put safeguards in place to stop it.
There is the cleansing from idolatry.
We must deal with idols in our life by confessing idolatry as a sin that we need cleansing and forgiveness from. All idolatry is covetousness. The “high places” where idol worship has occupied our desires must be taken down. Idolatry must be confessed as a sin and also forsaken.
Idolatry is insidious. We must be truthful and humble in heart when dealing with it. Don’t let idolatry take over your devotion.
Have a "God only" God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Job 38-39