1 John 5:21 (NIV)
21 Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
I absolutely love the way John simplifies everything. Here is a man that stood shoulder to shoulder with Jesus and probably had amazing conversations with Him. Instead of filling us with a bunch of fancy words and difficult concepts, he says what he needs to say in a way that is very easy for us to understand. Here, instead of muddying the message, he simply says, avoid idols.
I Do Not Worship Idols
Most of us can say with certainty that we do not worship a statue of Buddha in our living room or sacrifice our firstborn to Moloch, but many of us are still guilty of idol worship. We can rightfully look at a ritual like child sacrifice and think it foolish. This, of course, is very easy for us to avoid. But, dig a little deeper and you will most likely find an idol in your own life, one that is a little less obvious.
74,571 career passing yards, 541 touchdowns, six super bowl wins… New England idol Tom Brady. This one cuts a little deep to be very honest. But, come Sunday morning are we giving our whole attention to the Lord, or do we hurry our way through church to get in front of a television to see what Tom Brady is going to do next. Anything we place in front of the Lord is idolatry, even something as trivial as sports.
Maybe your idol leaves you green with envy. If you place the multiplying of money over quality time with the Lord, that may be your idol. Now, just as there is nothing wrong with enjoying watching the Patriots win game after game, money is not necessarily a bad thing either. It is simply evaluating where you place its importance. Placing money above God is idolatry, plain and simple.
There are obviously too many things in this world that can become an idol to list out here. Idols can be very simplistic. You could idol your car, your home, fame, business, any number of things. Anything you place above God is an idol.
The only way to avoid idolatry is to make sure God comes first in all things. Matthew 6:33 offers a great reminder… (33) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you… If we seek first the kingdom, we will be sure to avoid idolatry. Easier said than done, but it is our commandment! If we love the LORD our God with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our mind, He will naturally become the one we seek first.
Of all the sin we can fall victim to, idolatry is one of the easiest. Strive each day to love the Lord and seek His kingdom and that will lead to avoiding idolatry.
Romans 1:16 (NKJV)
16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.