1 John 5:21
His final warning to the church in this letter is so simple, yet so true. Keep yourself from idols. We’re called out of the darkness, to be emissaries to another world, living in the light. We love in a radical way the world does not understand. Pour out grace and compassion in a way the darkness cannot fathom. And we spend our life in this flesh, working towards an eternal kingdom.
Yet isn’t it true, it’s so easy to find our way into idols. Work, family, friends, appearance, love, and so much more can distract our hearts. The most fervent followers can be called off course by the temptation and voice of an idol.
We explain it away. We excuse it. We look for reasons why it’s “ok” and then we read passages where Jesus says harsh but real things that challenge our idol filled lives. It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to get into heaven. Foxes and birds all have places to go and sleep, but the son of man has nowhere. The greatest among you must be the least. And so much more.
Jesus called out our idols, and John warns us to watch them because, before long, my own image can be more important than anything else. Before long, the light in me no longer guides my choices and as we learned in chapter 1, we gravitate back towards the darkness. Our idols pull us away from what we know we need and lead us back where we never wanted to be again.
John warns the church and those who comprise it, watch out, keep yourself from idols. What idols creep back up in your life? What are you doing to keep the idols away from your heart?