“Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” 1 John 5:21
One of my all-time favorite movies is Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark. Within the first opening minutes, we find Indiana cautiously making his way through an ancient cave. Narrowly avoiding all the traps and obstacles, he ultimately finds what he has been searching for – the golden idol. Yet, after what he thinks is a clean exchange (the idol for a bag of sand weighing almost as much as the idol), the trap is sprung, and a chain reaction of destruction begins.
In 1 John 5:21, John reminds us of a very similar idol which Indiana was seeking. Although the idol John is referencing is not necessarily a golden object, the outcome is the same. John, writing in 5:21 says, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols.” Here, John is reminding us and warning us of the dangers of this world. The world is full of temptation, traps, and snares that, at a glance, are enticing. Satan knows how to deceive us. Ever since Genesis chapter 3, he has been doing it and doing it well. However, John is reminding us first of all of our faith in Christ; he calls us “little children.” This term is not used in a derogatory way, but a reminder of what he said in 1 John 2:28-3:1, “And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming. If you know that he is righteous, you may be sure that everyone who practices righteousness has been born of him. See what kind of love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” Secondly, John is warning us and reminding us to flee from temptation and the desire to place anything in this world before God.
When Indiana grabbed the golden idol, the chain reaction of destruction began. The world around him in the cave he was in literally began to fall apart. Church, I want to remind and encourage you to heed the warning of John here in 1 John 5:21. We are so privileged to be called children of God. However, sin has one goal, destruction. Flee from temptation; do not touch or dabble with the idols in this world and surrounding you. No matter how easy and harmless it may seem, you may think that you can simply take the idol and no one will notice. Yet, if we take that step and fool ourselves thinking that we have gotten away with it, we will trigger a chain reaction of destruction that, once triggered, is almost impossible to escape.