Did you know that I am an idolater? It is true, I am an idolater. Not so much in the sense that I bow down to some statue of a fat guy wearing a toga, but my idolatry comes in a much more subtle and secret form. 1 John 5:21 says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.” These are the last words John writes in his first letter to the disciples. Yet, how many of us “little children” of God have kept ourselves from idols?
When John wrote this letter, the world was filled with temples, statues, and the cities were filled with sacrifices made to thousands of other gods. Today, we don’t see a whole lot of sacrifice being made to other gods, not in our country, at least, not the way that John would have seen them. But the Lord showed me something in my life today that has the potential to becoming an idol if I am not careful.
Idolatry is the worship of an image other than the One True God. As I was praying and asking the Lord what He was trying to say to me, I stumbled upon this commentary. It says that Idolatry is when we “substitute other things in our affections in the place of the True God” and when we “devote to them the time and the affection which are due to Him.” (Barnes Notes on the Bible) We are all in danger of idolatry; we are all guilty of it as well.
John warns us to “keep ourselves from idols”, not only because they are seeking us, but because we are seeking them. It is in our design to worship. God created us to worship Him and Him only, to have a complete and perfect relationship with Him. Then sin came and turned our attention from God to self. We are in constant danger of setting our affections on other things and other people, and then what happens? We become consumed with them; we become consumed with the desires and the dreams of our idols.
The Lord showed me today how many times I become consumed with serving in a ministry, and I forget about Him. He was the one that placed me in the ministry; He is the one that deserves my every attention and all my affection first and foremost. Ladies, we are in great danger of letting our affections for our husbands and our families take first place in our lives. It is very easy for us as women to become emotionally attached to a person, a ministry, a way of life. We have a natural desire within us to love and to be loved. Yet, when we place that “love and affection” for our husbands and our children above God, we have fallen into idolatry. We as women are in danger of “loving with such an attachment as to exclude the True God from our hearts.” (Notes on the Bible- paraphrased)
Because I can become emotionally attached very easily to a ministry, and that ministry can become the focus of my heart, and my desires, what happens? I find that I am not spending any time for my devotions, or I begin to cut them shorter and shorter, also, I start to find other things regarding the ministry more important than to spend time with Him in His word. What ends up happening? I end up letting the ministry that I am involved in become more important than the One who placed me in the Ministry. We can do the same with our children and our husbands. Anytime we seek to please someone or serve something more than God Almighty, we have placed that person or thing into a place of worship; they have become our idol, our god.
Oh, my sisters, let this not be so! Let us, with humble hearts ask the Lord God to reveal any idol that we have in our lives. It may be something as simple as watching TV, when you know you should be spending time with your God. It may be your husband, whom you seek to please first, rather than pleasing the One True God who gave you breath. It could be your children, whom you seek to serve first and foremost, when God alone deserves that devotion. Whatever it is in our lives that take our hearts away from God, we need to ask for cleansing.
In the Old Testament they would cast out the idols from their villages and they would burn them down. Today, the Lord is telling us to do the same thing- cast these idols out! We have to resist, we have to keep ourselves from the idols that are constantly before us. Whatever it is in our lives that we put more time and affection into than our relationship with Him, we must seek to cast that out, to set it aside and bow our knees to the One True God who alone deserves all our devotion, our love, our attention, and our worship. To God alone be the glory.
“He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sword deceitfully. He shall receive blessings from the Lord, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” Psalm 24:4-5