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  • Writer's pictureShawn Thornton

Keep Away from Idols

Monday - May 24th

Scripture to Read Today: 1 John 5:13-21


Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.

1 John 5:21

Most people think they have never worshiped an idol. We believe that because few of us have bowed down to a statue of stone or wood. When we hear the term "idol," we think of some statue carved into the image of a supposed deity that looks like a person, animal, bird, or fish. If we don't think of a visible god to which folks bow, we think of music and television's "American Idol." Few today believe that anyone they know worships an idol or even has an idol in their lives at all.

Nineteenth-century English pastor J.C. Philpot addressed idols in a devotional he wrote more than a century and a half ago:

"What is an idol? Is not this the essence of the idea conveyed by the word, that an idol occupies that place in our esteem and affections, in our thoughts, words and ways, in our dependence and reliance, in our worship and devotedness, which is due to God only? Whatever is to us what the Lord alone should be, that is to us an idol. It is true that these idols differ almost as widely as the peculiar propensities of different individuals. But as both in ancient and modern times the grosser idols of wood and stone were and are beyond all calculation in number, variety, shape, and size, so is it in these inner idols of which the outer are mere symbols and representations."

We have to get beyond the idea that an idol exists only in ancient or primitive contexts. We might think that isolated people groups in the far reaches of the developing world have idols, but not people in "civilized" or modernized settings. Any one of us can hold onto and worship idols. As Philpot said, "Whatever is to us what the Lord alone should be, that is to us an idol."

Look at your own life. Can you see things, people, relationships, or ideas that have a place of prominence or importance in your life that only the Lord should have? Confess that as an idol. Go one step further. Do what the Apostle John emphasizes in 1 John 5:21, "Keep yourselves from idols." Don't even flirt with them or consider them. Make sure Christ has the first place in your heart and life!

Idols today aren't images carved in wood or stone but are anything that takes the Lord's place in our hearts!


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