Little Children

Journal Entry // December 5, 2021

Little children, keep yourselves from idols.

1 John 5:21 ESV

The last word in 1 John is a plea for us to keep ourselves from idols. Five chapters all boiled down to one simple phrase. One simple phrase that is central to the battle of faith. My heart is an idol factory. I am constantly creating idols, trusting idols, and turning my heart away from Christ because of them. So this simple plea from John is excruciatingly difficult.

Little children… John knows my propensity for idol making because he too feels his heart being drawn away. I am childish in many ways, but more so when it comes to the matter of faithfulness to Christ. Like a child I can be easily swayed, distracted, and enticed to go after the shiny new object. I am prone to listen to other voices and drift away from my Father. I want what I want when I want it. I want to be the master of myself and myself to be master of everything.

But my idols don’t follow these rules. I think my idols are there to serve me, but in actuality my idols quickly become my master. I build my idols on the basis of sin (pride, sensuality, lust, covetousness) and focus them on a particular object. This idol that I fashion is there to bring me happiness and pleasure. I don’t create an idol to bring misery and pain.

Yet this is quickly what the idol turns into. This idol of sin that I created for control, never ever gives me control. It requires me to give over control completely. The freedom that I gave in Christ is lost in an instant to the totalitarian authority of the idol. And I freely bow down to this idol. I may even grow to hate it, but I serve it. For like a child, I have little understanding of the cost of my decisions. I may loath my idol and my sin, but it’s all I know sometimes. It’s familiar. And familiarity, even evil, is attractive.

That’s John’s point here. Keep yourself from idols. Don’t play around with sin. Let your heart be captivated by the gospel. Cast away these idols that cling to your soul and weigh you down. Drop them all… now. The Spirit of Christ is abiding in the heart of God’s children. Turn from this childish foolishness and embrace Christ. The Father loves me completely. I can turn back to him at any moment and he will cleanse me. I don’t have to get right with myself first. I only need to come to Jesus in humility and faith. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. He loves me fully and perfectly.

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