Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21
False teaching leads to false worship. False worship is given to substitutes for God. Substitutes for God are idols. Pure worship is worship that brings devotion to God. Anything that seeks to draw our devotion away from God is an idol. Thoughts and desires can become idols in our lives. Traditions can become idols in our lives. John, in speaking to his little children, exhorts them to keep from idols. Idolatry was in some ways more visible at the time John wrote this—at least in terms of statues and other paraphernalia that were visible items of worship. But even then, there were other idols in people’s lives. The false prophets fed on those idols. They fueled the desire for them. They sought to draw people away from God. Remember that behind the idol is a demon (1 Corinthians 10:19-20). To worship the idol is to worship the demon. So, what are the idols in your life that you need to be keeping yourself from? Is it the need to control? Is it the comfort that comes from food? Is it the things you bring into your life and call entertainment? Is it the lust for something that is not yours? Idols take many shapes and forms, but what they all have in common is a demon that desires to draw your worship away from God to them. What are the things in your life that impact your devotion to God?