In the movie Finding Nemo, a gaggle of gulls stand together calling “Mine. Mine. Mine.” They are nothing but rats with wings. Funny, but pathetic.
The first epistle of John ends in a strange fashion: Little children, keep yourselves from idols (1 John 5:21). These final words are a warning of man’s sinful bent toward things other than the one true God.
An idol is anything that takes a position equal to God in life. The idol doesn’t need to be made of wood or stone, it can be an idea, a person, or a felt need. The most dangerous idol on the shelf of any home is “I”.
Our age of consumerism gears our thoughts toward satisfying that idol of self. We search God’s Word, not for a revelation of Him, but the satisfaction of a need for the day. We give to get something in return. We attend Sunday services for the personal gain of respect, acceptance, affirmation, friendship, business connections, enjoyable music, or rest from turmoil. There is nothing inherently wrong in these, but they are inexcusable reasons for not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:25).
God has called His family to gather together to encourage the weak in the walk of faith, stirring each other toward love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). We find fellowship around the Word of God, not in shared stories and s’mores around a kumbaya campfire. We magnify God as His holy habitation (Ephesians 2:22).
So often the imagination of our hearts is unknowingly drawn to the satisfaction of self-need – not the encouragement and love of others. The reflection of God’s glory becomes lost in the mirror as we stare upon our own face. Grace reminds us that we are unfailingly needy, but grace also turns us from the idolatrous temptation to find fulfillment anywhere other than in God.