“Little children, keep yourselves from idols”
1 John 5:21
this is how John ends his first letter. just that sentence. no fancy farewell or sweet hopes of seeing the letter-receivers like Paul. nope. just one more command to his readers. it’s like he wants this thought provoking phrase to be the last word. the last thing we remember from his letter. and i find that fascinating.
he calls his readers “little children” too. some people might have been offended to be considered children by someone they respected and liked. but to me, it reminds me that i am a little child in my faith too, i’m still learning and growing in my relationship with God. so i accept that my name is child. Child of God.
but then he says, “keep yourselves from idols.” i think most of us today read that and skim right over. don’t really think about it. what idols is he talking about? the kind of historic figures that people made from wood or from stone? no, i don’t think so. i think he is talking about anything…ANYTHING that takes our focus from Jesus. that we think about more than Jesus. that we focus on when we have nothing else to think about. anything we worry about. dream about. anything we can’t live without.
at church, we are going through Tim Keller’s Gospel in Life series. Last week, we went through the video about idols. Tim Keller says this:
“What is an idol? It is anything more important to you than God, anything that absorbs your heart and imagination more than God, anything you seek to give you what only God can give.”
“…A counterfeit god is anything so central and essential to your life that, should you lose it, your life would feel hardly worth living.”
close your eyes for a minute. think about loosing everything in your life. what if you lost your family? your friends? your job? your house? your money? what of all those things, do you fear losing the most? what do you think would make life impossible to go on if you lost it?
yikes, things pop into your head too? it’s so hard to think that sometimes the things that we love the most, that are actually gifts from God, can turn into our idols. when really, we should be turning to God in thanksgiving for those gifts, with an open hand, knowing He could take it all away in a blink of an eye.
as you can tell, i’ve had the message about idols in my head for a couple of weeks. and reading 1 John has reminded me, that i need to pay close attention to my idols… and make sure that i bring them to the Lord in repentance. i’m just like a little child. i need this reminder. EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.
may you remember John’s parting words today, my friends. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.”