Have you ever finished a book, put it down, and thought to yourself, what a stupid way for that story to end? I had that happen to me the other day, but it wasn’t just any book, it was the Word of God. I was finishing up 1st John and the book ends this way in chapter 5: “Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.” What? Why in the world would John end this letter this way. I mean, this is the Word of God, so I knew that there had to be a reason, but none came to me until my drive home yesterday as I was listening to Mark Driscoll give a talk out of Proverbs.
He was talking about how we have classified addictions as a disease, when in reality, they are nothing more than the sin of idolatry. Problem is, since we live in a world that doesn’t want to take responsibility for it’s actions, it just feels better to call addictions a disease. That way we can try and shrug off some of the responsibility for our choices (sorry, it doesn’t work that way). People inside and outside of the Church turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, the Internet, a job, and a whole host of other things to try and fill a void that only God can fill. Anything, ANYTHING, ANYTHING that we turn to other than God is idolatry! There is just no getting around that fact.
Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40: “You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important; ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” If you abide by just these two commandments, you end up keeping all of the commandments. And, in the process, are able to “…keep yourselves from idols.” All of the sudden, the goofy ending isn’t so strange anymore.