Dear children, keep yourselves from idols. 1 John 5:21
Gracious Father, this verse fuels my longing for the Day when I will no longer be tempt-able, deceivable, or capable of worshiping any other “god” but you.
I so look forward to an eternity of giving you the adoration, affection, attention, and allegiance of which you alone are worthy. No one redeems us like you. No one loves us like you do. No one cares for us like you. No one understands us like you. There is no God but you.
In Jesus, you’ve already given us a new heart and have placed your Spirit inside us. In Jesus, you’ve already turned our heart of stone into a heart of flesh (Ezek. 36:25-27). In Jesus, you’ve already given us a heart to know and love you (Jer. 24:7). In Jesus, you’ve already written your law upon our hearts (Jer. 31:33).
Indeed, Father, you’ve already given me a perfectly forgiven heart—yet it is far from being a fully perfected heart. The battle for my heart’s worship continues—daily relentlessly. This conflict will persist until the Day Jesus returns to finish making all things new. Thus this warning, to keep myself from idols, isn’t going away—easily or quickly.
Father, there are some idols I run from like the plague, others I don’t even recognize as idols, and some which have a dangerous, seductive power—hard to resist. It’s easier to see the idols outside of me (the things and people to which I give unwarranted power); but help me to discern the “idols of the heart” (Ezek. 14:4) (the illusions, dreams, emotions, beliefs to which I give disproportionate affection).
Help me to know when I’ve made a good thing an ultimate thing. Help me wary of those seasons when my cry for relief is louder than my cry for a changed heart. When I don’t think you are “enough,” make it clear where I take the trust and worship you deserve—the false gods and broken cisterns to which I look for deliverance, and temporal salvation.
I praise you for the assurance that I am already one of your “beloved children.” You cannot love me more than you already do, and you will never love me less. Surely the gospel, this gospel, will win the day, my heart, and the entire cosmos. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ strong and loving name.