Don’t Let Religion Be Your Idol

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Image credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/closetartist/5997974766/">Patty</a>

1 John 5:18-21

We know that God’s children don’t do wrong. The firstborn child protects them, so the devil can’t touch them. We know that we’re God’s children, and the whole world remains in the devil’s grip. We know that Jesus has come, that he has given us understanding of what God is really like. We live in that understanding by being true to Jesus. This is God. This is life. Kids, stay away from idols.

“The Devil made me do it,” is no excuse. If the devil made you do it, if you couldn’t help yourself, so far as John is concerned, you’re to blame. John doesn’t know anything about the power of addiction, though. Or if he does, he’d say that it was the devil, and what you need isn’t treatment, but conversion.

People today still use conversion as treatment. Christian “recovery programs” offer relief from all kinds of troubles and so-called ills: alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, poverty, homosexuality. Insofar as they work, though, it’s by substituting a religious addiction for whatever other addition is being treated, often with a toxic dose of guilt and punishment added into the mix. But let the wind blow just a little bit, and the whole house of cards falls down. A crack in some seemingly unrelated doctrine sinks the whole ship of faith, and with it the “miraculous recovery” of those who depend on it.

Faith can be a powerful force for those who embrace it as a way of life. Just beware of letting it become an idol.