strength-1024x563 “Little children, guard yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21) 

            “Watch out” says John, the Apostle. “Be on guard against anything that might occupy the place in your heart that should be reserved for God”. Any idol, regardless of its beauty or usefulness or original purpose, is to be set aside so that Christ might reign supreme, without a single competitor. In Numbers 21, we see the Israelites hot and irritable as they wandered across the wilderness. They complained about the manna and the lack of water. So God sent snakes among them.  “Fiery snakes” bit many people and brought death into the camp. They begged Moses to ask God to remove the serpents. God told Moses to make a bronze serpent, hold it high up on a long pole and whoever would look upon that bronze serpent would be healed. It was a miraculous and glorious provision.

But do you know what happened to that metallic snake? In 2 Kings 18:4, we read that King Hezekiah broke in pieces the bronze serpent that Moses had made, and it was called “Nehushtan”. The sons of Israel burned incense to it. For about eight centuries they had hung on to that bronze serpent. They dragged it here and carried it there, preserved it, protected it and polished it. They made an idol of it, naming it as “Nehushtan”. They turned it into an object of worship.

Something that had been useful and effective had degenerated over the years into an idol.In the same way, you can make an idol out of anything or anyone in life. Your friend can be given first place in your life and literally idolized. Your work can easily become your God. Your education, your achievement, your electronic gadget and your mobile phone can so grip your heart that it becomes your “Nehushtan”. There is nothing necessarily wrong with any of these good things. To possess them is not sinful. But it is sinful when they possess us! Therein lies the difference. It is that sort of a thing that turns a golden dream into a hollow chunk of bronze.

Can you really say that you are free from bronze anchors? Can Christ reigns in your heart without a rival? Or do you admit to a personal shrine in your inner temple where you privately burn incense?  “Where your treasure is”, says the Lord, “there your heart is,” and out of the abundance of heart, the mouth speaketh. What you invest your time and treasure in, what you talk about, what you keep returning to in your mind reveals what is really in your heart. Your Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ wants to occupy the first place in your heart. It is so easy to get attached to idols – good things inappropriately adored. But when you have Jesus in the centre of the room, everything else only junks up the décor.

Augustine was once accosted by a heathen who showed him his idol and said, “Here is my god, where is thine? Augustine replied, “I cannot show you my God, not because there is no God to show but because you have no eyes to see Him!