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What Idolatry? - 1 John 5:21

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A believer, in recovery, looking to the Bible to know who I am in Christ.


Little children, guard yourselves from idols.

1 John 5:21

Paying Attention

Just because I’m a child of God does not mean that everything is smooth sailing and I have no work to do.

If I’m not paying attention, I will stumble into idolatry.

Wait. Did I just say that? That sounds like it might have been an issue for 1st century Christians, but not me living in the 2000s. I don’t see any idolatry in my neighborhood, right? And certainly Christians don’t worship idols.

Okay, so I've never seen a Christian buy a carved image and bow down to it. But we still manufacture idols.

I know, now I don’t sound like I’m making any sense.

John Calvin said it like this: “The heart is a perpetual idol factory.”

See, I make up my own idols out of thin air.


Earlier in this letter, the apostle John said it like this: “For everything in the world — the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride in one’s possessions — is not from the Father, but is from the world.”

I can think of a bunch of times in my life when I thought having a possession was going to fix everything. I wouldn’t ever want anything again. Okay, maybe that overstates it a bit, but it comes pretty close.

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I remember wanting a musical keyboard so bad. I just couldn’t wait. So I went out and put one on my credit card. Now I was happy. For a few minutes.

But that didn’t do it, so I bought one thing after another on that card. Eventually owing thousands of dollars in debt.

And all because I wouldn’t trust that Jesus was with me. That in Jesus, I was okay. Buying things made me feel good in the moment. But for me, it was idolatry. I was trusting those things to make me good enough.

And they didn’t.

The tragedy is that I already had Jesus, but I wouldn’t trust Him. Those things lusts, the itemsI wanted were going to do it for me.

That’s not the way it works.

And that’s at least a part of why John tells believers to guard again

Godly Desires

Now it all sounds like such a sad story, but the Lord is faithful. He gives good gifts to His children. And He has given me a burning desire to be all in. Not half a believer. I desire to be a faithful man.

I want to truly know what it means to delight in the Lord and let Him give me the desires of my heart.

And I often pray as directed by Paul to fulfill my good desires, not the lusts of First John chapter two.

May you too be filled with good, godly desires and may the be fulfilled. May you delight in the Lord today.

Oh God, you are my God. Earnestly I thirst for you in a dry and weary world. Lord, give me the wisdom to see the idols of the age and the ones in my own heart. May I trust you. Fill me with a spirit of power, love, and wisdom. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

© 2022 Arseayli

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