1John 5:21 ESV Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
I was talking with my children about addictions yesterday. We have family members who have chosen a given substance or image over primary relationships. Where they should have been committed, they weren’t. And the things they should have avoided they pursued to unhealthy levels. We talked about how we are all prone to chase things to sooth, comfort, or help us rather than God.
We may not have graven images that we are tempted to go back and worship, but there are many things that can become functional idols in our lives if we let them control us. It might be a midnight
craving temptation for food to calm an anxious mind, alcohol to numb emotional pain, pornography, drugs, gossip, etc. You name the substance or vice and there you have it.
I find it interesting that John closes the epistle of 1 John with this command to, “keep yourself from idols.” He has spoken so much about how Jesus Christ changes the life of a believer, the incredible work of the Spirit of God, and what it looks like to abide. Now he diligently reminds his readers that they must be on guard for the things that would tempt them. Just as Jesus taught us to pray against temptation (Luke 11:4), we should be on guard for the old way of life or substitutes that we might seek instead of seeking after the one true God.
Father, thank you that you have set us free from sin. Thank you that there is victory in Jesus Christ. I pray that we would be free to love others even as you have loved us. I pray that we would abide in you and your word in us. I ask Lord that you would keep us from idols. Guard our hearts from the false gods that we think we’d control but would really control us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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