I’ve just come to the end of looking at John’s first epistle with a group of friends and there’s one verse, right at the end that is really searching me and I felt led to share my thoughts. There’s a part of me that always wants to post just positive things but we so need searching too so that we…
‘might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;’
John ends his letter with these words…
‘Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.’
Even thought this is such a short verse, I decided to break it down and look at it that way…
Little children – teknion – ‘this is a term of endearment and is spoken in loving concern from a teacher to his disciples.’
Friends hard as it is, we need our hearts to be searched.
Keep yourselves –
Keep – phylassō – be on guard, keep watch.
I looked at this and my first thought was, ‘we can’t keep ourselves’ but friends, we do need to be constantly looking to the Lord to keep us.
But we can be ‘on guard’ against idolatry.
We can be watchful, daily examining ourselves, drawing near to God, seeking to know Him more because the more we know Him, the more we will love and desire Him.
So what are idols?
Idols – eidōlon – whatever represents the form of an object, either real or imaginary. An image.
An idol doesn’t just mean something physical friends, it’s anything we desire or love more than God, or any thing we have that we set above God.
It’s anything we do that we’d prefer to do over spending time with God.
What images are there in our minds throughout the day?
What’s in our imagination?
What are our thoughts most taken up with?
Who has the majority of our love and affection throughout the day?
What or who do we set in the place that rightly belongs to God?
Is there anything we desire or love more than God?
How do we spend those few minutes here and there that were get to relax?
Is God first in our thoughts throughout the day?
‘Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.’
If we are a true child of God then Christ is in us, where do we take Him each day, either literally or in our thoughts?
‘And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,’
If self is first in our lives then we worship self.
If we live for money then money is our god.
If we live for pleasure then that is our god.
If we live wanting what we don’t have, wishing we had this or that then lust and coveteousness control us.
Oh friends, how much does God mean to us? Is God first and last and all in all?
‘Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.’
How we, how I, need to seek and pray that God might be first in our lives, that we might be given such a love to Him that all else pales into insignificance.
Friends, we can’t keep ourselves but we can be on guard and daily asking God to keep us because of God is first then all else will fall into place.
‘Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts. And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.’
1 John 5:21, Col 1:10, 1 Cor 10:7, 2 Cor 6:17, Hag 1:7, Psalm 139;23,24