Little children, keep yourselves from idols.
As you finish reading John’s first letter, his conclusion sentence may surprise you. “Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” he says. This is strange because not once during the entire book does John mention idols or pagan gods, except for the very last sentence. Did he forget what he was writing about? Did his pen run out of ink and this line somehow got added later from another piece of parchment? Not at all. This simple sentence adds so much context to the rest of the book, because you’ll notice John doesn’t say, “Little children, keep yourselves from un-belief.” That’s because John knows we all believe something and we’re always acting on what we believe.
He concludes then with this point. If we want to Dwell in the light, in the life, and in the love John so beautifully described in his letter, we must believe. Sometimes we downplay belief, but by placing our faith in something, we give the object of our faith power. And as its power grows, the more it begins to stir passion within us. This past Sunday, Pastor Ryan mentioned several radical things belief can cause a person to do: talk to a perfect stranger, marry four wives, run a plane into building, or even murder based on differences. Sure, what we believe can prompt extreme behavior, but it usually prompts small everyday habits first. That’s where idols come in.
Idols don’t start with drastic choices. They start with those small seemingly inconsequential choices you make every day. The number of times you glace in a mirror. The things you put in your body. The shows you stream on TV. The patterns of thought you develop about yourself, others, and the world. Everything you do is a part of who you are and what you believe. If you want to Dwell with Jesus the way John describes – dwelling with the light of the world illuminating your world, dwelling with resurrection life giving your everyday breath, dwelling grounded in the love of God, you’ve got to proactively place your faith in Jesus today. Confess any idols you’ve given too much power and turn toward Jesus. He will forever be your light, your life, and your love as you Dwell in HIM.
By Yvonne Biel