“Little children, guard yourselves from idols.” (1 John 5:21)
Does the title of this article seem ill-matched with the exhortation from Pastor John in his first short letter? It would have to me before this morning’s devotion.
“Their idols are silver and gold,
made by human hands.
They have mouths but cannot speak,
eyes, but cannot see.
They have ears but cannot hear,
noses, but cannot smell.
They have hands but cannot feel,
feet, but cannot walk.
They cannot make a sound with their throats.
Those who make them are just like them,
as are all who trust in them.”
What is an idol? The simple definition I’ve always used is “anything that is placed before or made more important than, God.” That would be any person, place, or thing. The bolded part of the passage above showed me what I was missing:
The person engaged in my idolatry could be an idolized me, not the actual me. It would be an IMAGined me with different circumstances: in a better house, with a different person, married, single, driving a better car, in a better job…. So, I’d have more than one idol – some other person, place, or thing, but also an IMAGined me.
IDOLATRY CANNOT LEAD TO HAPPINESS!
Jesus called us to be light in the world. Think of yourself as an electric lamp. You need a power source. What will you plug into for power? Will plugging into some person, place, or thing light you up? It might for a little while. Let’s say you plug into a new car. Nice! But, down the road a few thousand miles, you need maintenance. A few more miles, and you need repairs. Your light plugged into that car is now pretty dim.
NO PERSON, PLACE, OR THING CAN EVER COMPLETELY SATISFY.
YOU-WITH A PERSON, IN A PLACE, OR POSSESSING A THING-CAN NEVER SATISFY.
THEY’RE JUST IDOLS, AND SO IS THE YOU THAT’S WITH THEM.
THERE’S ONLY ONE SOURCE THAT CAN COMPLETELY SATISFY.
FOR MY LIGHT TO SHINE, I’VE GOT TO BE PLUGGED INTO JESUS.
Let’s focus on relationships for a moment. I’m going to ask a question, and you may be tempted to reply with a quick, “No!” Please think for a moment before you answer. Those who are married, Have you made your spouse into an idol, expecting him or her to meet all your needs? … Those who are single, are you looking for a person who will meet all of your needs? … If you expect a person to meet all your needs, to completely satisfy you, you’ve put way too much on that person. You’ve made that person an idol and people make lousy gods!
What are you praying for? Why are you asking God for whatever or whoever it is? Is His will your primary concern? If so, you will find more than happiness. Your life will fill up and overflow with a profound and deep JOY! What would happen if instead you placed your own will above His? Stop and think. Are you? Pray! Your enemy is very crafty. Idolatry leads to Hell-on-earth, not Happiness.
JESUS MUST BE CENTRAL.
THE LORD DOESN’T WANT TO BE #1 IN YOUR LIFE.
JESUS WANTS TO BE YOUR LIFE!
HE WANTS TO BE #1 IN EVERY RELATIONSHIP AND IN EVERY PRIORITY!
WHEN JESUS IS YOUR LIFE, YOU WILL HAVE FOUND TRUE HAPPINESS!
The Lord will bring other people, places, things, and circumstances into your completely surrendered life, and what He allows will be “the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:1 & 2)