That Idol That You Love, It Doesn’t Love You Back

That Idol That You Love, It Doesn’t Love You Back

The Apostle John ended his first epistle very abruptly: Little children keep yourself from idols. The End. No salutation. Not even a “Grace to you and peace.”

I think John did it this way to get our attention because idols have a sneaky way of getting us to love them and serve them. We are deceived into believing they love us and serve us back–but they don’t.

Keeping ourselves free from idols is a daily process and we often need help. That’s why I share this recent blog post from Justin Buzzard. It is jam-packed with insight. You’ll find many powerful sentences and one of them just might bring the grace and truth we need to keep ourselves from our idol-of-the-day.

Take an extra minute to read it slowly:

 That Idol That You Love, It Doesn’t Love You Back by Justin Buzzard

Everyone has to live for something and if that something isn’t the one true God, it will be a false God–an idol.

An idol is anything more important to you than God. Therefore, you can turn even very good things into idols. You can turn a good thing like family, success, acceptance, money, your plans, etc. into a god thing–into something you worship and place at the center of your life.

This is what sin is. Sin is building your life and meaning on anything (even a good thing) more than God.

Do you know the idols you’re prone to worship? At our church we talk about 4 root idols that we tend to attach our lives to.

CONTROL. You know you have a control idol if your greatest nightmare is uncertainty.

APPROVAL. You know you have an approval idol if your greatest nightmare is rejection.

COMFORT. You know you have a comfort idol if your greatest nightmare is stress/demands.

POWER. You know you have a power idol if your greatest nightmare is humiliation.

Here’s what you need to know about your idol: That idol that you love, it doesn’t love you back. False gods don’t love you. Idols don’t keep their promises. Anything you worship and build your life on other than God will suck the life out of you and destroy you.

A relationship with Jesus starts when you identify and turn from your idols. Notice what Jesus was always doing with people during his ministry–he was constantly identifying and challenging people’s idols, calling them to turn from their false objects of worship in order to follow and worship him.

I’m convinced that the reason there is so much shallow Christianity in our culture is because many people never displace the idolatry in their lives with Jesus, but instead simply bring in Jesus as an “add on” to their life, keeping their idolatry firmly in the center.

Americans think freedom is found in casting off all restraint and being masters of our own lives. What we are blind to is the reality that everybody has a master. We all worship something and whatever we worship is our master. Idols make bad masters. They enslave. Until you identify the idols in your life you will feel enslaved, tired, and unhappy and you won’t know why. You will feel this way until you discover the only master who can set you free: Jesus. Jesus is the one master who will love you even when you fail him. Your idols don’t do that. Jesus is the one master who loved you when you were at your worst and who reigns over your life with perfect wisdom, power, and goodness. He’s the one master you can trust. Only he can give you freedom.

Little children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21

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  • Susan Moore

    Thanks Pastor Joe. I find idols can be very seductive. It’s wonderful when we walk freely and idol free in the grace of God -there’s nothing else like it- but if we are not taught and reminded what to be wary of, I, for one, fall for idols too quickly, and feel like I realize my fall to late. I know very well that it’s never too late for the intervention of Christ, but I remain ‘old school’ and believe an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

  • tme

    Interesting as I reflect on how I became interested in Christianity and Christ.

    It was a curiosity and draw of a few people who lived their life way different than me. They were at easy with the uncertainties of life. There is a unearthly carefree confidence of knowing everything is going to work out just fine.

    They spoke honestly and openly about what they know to be true. They were transparent about their failures in life, some were really big failure! The Truth was at time offensive to me but there was no concern about what I thought about “them” only what I thought about the Truth.

    They seem to be at peace with themselves and the world they live in. The daily drive to perform I had know all my life was absent. They had some how transcended the demands of this world and were living a relaxed carefree life that freed them to shift their focus from self to others/me.

    Lastly these few had a unflinching confidence in a power outside of themselves. They found this Power only when they had exhausted and spent all of theirs to solve life’s biggest issue and came to the end of their own self sufficiency. They knew they were broken and hopeless and unable to apply all the world’s solutions and their self-sufficiency to fix themselves. However, the were now living not perfect, but healed and productive lives with a genuine care for others/me. It was almost like they were on a mission.

    These were people living a life very very different than me and the world. I want to know the secret they had found……truth is the “secret” had been perusing me since the day I was born. I was lost……but now I was found.

    Thank you to all who obey His “call”.

  • TomParker

    As a corollary to this post, maybe when we find ourselves out of sorts, stressed out or unhappy, we should force ourselves to do a little personal evaluation to find out why. I’d guess that many of these occasions come about when we are not getting what we want from another person, our job, our kids, our portfolio, our workouts, etc. If those things are the source of our stress and become the thing that causes us to worry about life and, therefore, not to “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” does that mean a form of idolatry has begun? The harder thought – beyond identifying the idols – will be to find out how to stop focusing on them and make sure God is first.

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