As I was walking this morning I had time for reflection.
I began pondering idols. An idol is anything that pulls my attention away from my Father. Like a strong magnet that is put close to a metal object. You can feel the pull, the dance that one force has on another and before you know it, the magnet is clamped tightly to the metal object. You can almost see the dance of the magnet just before it contacts the metal. The stronger the magnet, the harder the two are to separate. I have been listening to a series called Idol Addiction. The thought of idolatry is one that deserves pondering. It is a real battle. In this world, we all face the enemy of idolatry. The appearance of the idol is different for each of us. There are a few characteristics of an idol are the same for every believer. The object, the idol, takes (even momentarily) utmost importance. The dance before an idol, the gazing and false hope that the idol will fill us or make us happy becomes a driving force. This could be a dress we have to have, an activity that we enjoy, a job, a house, an itinerary, our children, etc. The idol itself isn't always a bad thing. In fact, for many of us, it actually may be our calling, but when we use it for self or self-worth, it becomes an idol. Ah, the flesh... the flesh can warp our vision. We begin to dance. In hopes that our effort will produce what only rest in Jesus Christ produces. WE are made in God's image. We are made and MEANT for communion with Him. However, when our vision is obstructed by our pride, our self, we begin to work for the object, for self. We exchange Truth for a lie that is fleeting-the lie that is as old as the Garden.
In I John 5:21 John writes, "Little children, guard yourselves from idols."
John was writing to Gentile believers. What sweet words, "little children." John walked with our Savior. He ate with him. Laughed with him. Cried with him. Rejoiced with him. Prayed with him. John when he wrote this, was probably the last surviving apostle. It was written before he was banished to the island of Patmos. The Son of God prayed and taught John. And John walked with Jesus. So, when John wrote the inspired, authoritative words...guard yourself, it is an action. How are we to guard ourselves.
I believe that we have to pause and let Him peel back some layers. I thought of The Great Gatsby. Do you remember the literary picture of the eyes watching over a city? Today, I envisioned "the eyes" as The Lord, peering through my heart. I pictured my heart, my motives, as glass. It is a little chilling to think of being that bare. But aren't we? He peers, right through. Only, he peers as a means to work. Much like a heart surgeon. Not a peering to look and only to sew me back up and send me on my way. We have a condition, and His skillful, tender hands come in and do not repair, but actually replace what is broken. As a believer, I am given the opportunity to rest as He molds, changes, and heals the deepest parts of my heart that I can't even see. He comes in and makes a new creation as I rest.
After reading the last words in I John, the pastoral warning of guarding myself from idolatry, I was examining how to guard myself. After, the examining of my Father, the confession of a wandering heart, what next? Truth. I went to I John 1:1-5.
"What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life-and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us-what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. These things we write, so that our joy may be made complete. This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all."