In 1 John 5:21 we read, “Little children, guard yourselves from idols.”
This warning and admonition seems to have little relevance to us in this day and age. I would venture that you have not seen men and women bowing down to marble statues in Kansas. But consider why the Greeks bowed down to their gods. When we sample their gods we find that:
Aphrodite was the goddess of love.
Athena was the goddess of wisdom.
Artemis was the goddess of fertility and prosperity.
And Dionysius was the god of wine, festivals, and ecstasy.
The Greeks worshipped these idols in order to acquire love, wisdom, prosperity, and ecstasy. In our day and age, we may not sacrifice to marble statues, but we do worship love, wisdom, prosperity, and ecstasy. Take love, for instance. One popular 80’s songs states “You give meaning to my life, you’re the inspiration.” Love is lifted to a whole new meaning. When found, happiness comes forth, and when lost, despair takes its course. Love is not a bad thing, in fact it is celebrated in the Bible. However, as we shall see, it becomes an idol when it becomes an ultimate thing.
Essentially an idol is something or someone which we worship in place of God. When we believe that we desperately need something to be happy or if we habitually sin in order to get something, or habitually sin because we are not getting something, that something is an idol. The young woman who worships love will be willing to part with her purity to gain love, or will struggle with discontentment when she does not have love. Such is the case of idolatry. In the next post in this series we will discuss how to guard yourselves from idols.