Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.1 John 5:21
He closes with this final warning.
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. Do not go off to something else. Do not give your attention to your interests, your time, your energy, or your money so that those things become what you live for, what you get excited about, what enthuses you. That is your god. What is it with you? Is it Jesus Christ, or is it something else?
In our travels, my family and I were privileged to be in various parts of the ancient world, where we visited many temples dedicated to idols. Though these temples had fallen into ruins, in every place a certain god such as Apollo, Venus, Bacchus, or Zeus had been enthroned and worshiped there. It suddenly struck me, after returning home, that though these temples have been abandoned, the worship of the god has not ceased. We have changed the names, but the gods, the idols, are exactly the same.
There is the worship of Narcissus, the god who fell in love with himself. Is this not perhaps the supreme god of humanity: the worship of self, the exaltation of humans? The idea that we constantly hear set forth is that humans are so tremendous, so smart, so brilliant, so clever; they can do so many things. Yet we deny the continual evidence of our senses that the world is crumbling to pieces around us. Isn't it amazing how we worship humanity? The manifestations of it find expression in the worship of race or country. We have the worship of Bacchus, the god of pleasure, wine, women, and song; the worship of Venus, the goddess of love, enthroned in Hollywood and all that Hollywood stands for; Apollo, the god of physical beauty; Minerva, the goddess of science. Everywhere we have enthroned science.
John writes and says that these things will destroy you, they will rob you of what God has for you.
Little children, watch that you do not drift off into the worship that the world around you is constantly engaged in. Do not let these things become important in your life, for God has set you free that you might live as God intended people to live. No wonder His word comes
Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. What makes you enthusiastic? To what do you give your money? For what are you saving up now? What is it that you regard as supremely important? It is with this question that John closes this book.
Father, help me to identify the many gods of this age that appear to be so attractive but really have nothing to offer me but death. Thank You for the truth that is in Christ and that in Him I have all that I could ever need or want.
Many think idols are religious things of the past. But today in the present, what is it that makes us enthusiastic? What is it that we regard as supremely important?