Dear children, keep yourselves from idols.
1 John 5:21 NIV
John, one of the twelve who followed Jesus during his time on earth, is commonly thought to be the author of this letter. It is a letter that is filled with instruction from an elder statesman of the church to those he had shepherded throughout a long life. He desired his children to walk faithfully with the Lord, growing ever deeper in their faith. And this verse was his concluding remark to them.
In John’s day, an idol was a carved image representing a commonly worshipped god. These idols would have been a very common sight nearly everywhere outside of Judea. John’s warning to them was to keep themselves from idols. To have nothing to do with idols or the gods that they represented. Rather, they should demonstrate wholehearted devotion to God alone.
Idols in Today’s World
It might be tempting to see this verse as irrelevant to us today. After all, there are not too many idols on street corners today….