Turned From Idols to God
1 Thessalonians 1:9 (ESV) -- For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,
Most Christians I know don’t think they’re guilty of idolatry. In fact, most people in general don’t think they worship idols. The reason for that is they think idols are little statues made of wood, stone, or clay. They envision bowing down before these little gods and chanting things before them. This is not the only way we can worship idols.
An idol is anything that we elevate before God. We can make an idol out of anything. It can be a good thing. An idol could be a relationship, a job, status, material things, or any other thing we make the source of our identity, hope, or joy.
Our passage today shows that every Christian was once an idolater who had to turn away. Paul says, “For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” Notice he says they “turned to God from idols.” This turning is the Christian idea of repentance. Christians repent, or turn from, the things that keep them from worshiping, honoring, or running after God. They turn from rebellion against His commands. That’s repentance.
He says the Christians in Thessalonica turned to God from idols. They were idol worshippers. We don’t hear specifically what their idols were, but it’s interesting he says they turned from those things to serve the living and true God. Idols present themselves as able to be for us what only God can be. But they are not God. There is only one true and living God.
My encouragement today is to give thanks to God for saving you from idols, and opening your eyes to His grace. Praise Jesus for how He makes us acceptable before God, despite our idolatry. As a believer, fight the temptation to turn back to idols. They can never be for you what Christ alone can be.
Reflection & Journal:
- What are some specific cultural idols that exist today?
- What are some idols that you have struggled with in your life?
- How can we fight and resist the pull to turn back to idols?
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