Little children, guard yourselves from idols.
John wraps the book up with his conclusion. He has given much proof that Jesus is the Son of God whom true believers will know and exhibit changed lives because of it. There is only one true God, and any variation in belief will not lead to eternal life.
Few of us feel the temptation to bow down to carved wood or chiseled stone, but idolatry can pull us away nonetheless if we are not on our guard. Some intentionally worship other gods in an attempt to find peace or eternal life, but many have their priorities out of order without realizing the idolatry. The worship and love of money abounds in our culture, and much of the financial crisis of today was brought about by individual and corporate greed. Many of us worship ourselves – focusing our lives on fashion, food, and maintaining the positive image others have of us. We worship our pursuits and pleasures, spending more time on Facebook than face to face with God. We make idols of our relatives and friends. (I personally spend most of my days focused on my children!) We worship the culture, modern philosophy, and intellectualism rather than being “in the world but not of it. We worship the rituals of faith rather than the Creator of all.
The NLT translates v. 21 “Dear children, keep away from anything that might take God's place in your hearts.” How do you need to change your life to reflect the greatest commandment, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might” (Deut. 6:5)?