(1 John 4-5)

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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Day 82: 1 John 4-5 (NEW TESTAMENT 90)

Today’s reading comes from 1 John 4-5 follow the link provided here to read the ESV online.

Test the Spirits (4:1). Not everyone claiming the name of Jesus carries the same message. Mormons don’t. Jehovah’s witnesses don’t. Just because someone has a bit of good “Jesus speak” doesn’t mean that they are actually of Jesus… also allow some grace for people to be a little different than you, but still believe in the deity and humanity of Jesus. Just because a person has a different stance on election or the use of charismatic gifts does not mean that they are not a brother in the faith… What do they think of Jesus, that’s the question.

There is no way to be saved except through Jesus Christ (4:10). We can talk about the love of God all day long in generic terms, but his love was spilled out on the cross when Jesus took our sins upon himself. It’s not just a generic use of the word love. He took our worst and gave his best. That love is a kind is a kind unto itself. Those who claim to follow the LORD should exhibit this sort of love to one another. We should love each other at our worst and give each other our best.

Being loved by God should free us to desire to obey his commandments. We are free from sin and able to obey the Lord. Those who belong to God should be easy to spot because they long to honor the Lord in everything.

FATHER, Thank you for your amazing grace and love that goes deeper than I can fathom. I ask that my life would continue to be transformed into your likeness. Let your love show up in my life and my actions. Give me grace to love others, even when it is hard. Help me to forgive as I have been forgiven and love and I am loved. Thank you for the incredible grace in these days to lead your people. IN JESUS NAME, AMEN.

What did you take away from today’s reading? What are your thoughts or questions? Feel free to comment below and enter the discussion.

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