Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

From What Have we Turned?

Meditation for the week of September 25, 2011

For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.  (1 Thessalonians 1:9)

The Thessalonians who had been involved in idol worship turned from it when they were saved.  They turned from something worthless to something valuable.  They turned from something dead to something living.  They turned from something with “no hope” to something with “hope” as they waited for the living and true God’s Son from heaven who had delivered them from the wrath to come.

The Romans needed to turn from immorality.  The Thessalonians turned from idols.  The Jews needed to turn from a false practice of a religion that had rejected their own Messiah.  What have we turned from?  I am glad that this verse not only deals with the negative but it also deals with the positive.  They turned from idols to serve the living and true God.  God doesn’t just ask us to turn from what is wrong, He gives us something good in its place.  He doesn’t empty our cups without filling them with something better.  He doesn’t take away that which does not satisfy without giving back the “living water” that satisfies forever. 

We have three enemies,  Actually, we really have one manifested in three ways.  We have the world which is the society organized by Satan and that is opposed to God.  In contrast, the church is the society organized by the Lord.  We have the flesh which is the sin principle that will be in us and with us for life.  It is manifested by out of control appetites.  In contrast, the Lord provides us the Holy Spirit Who wants complete control of us, that is, He wants to “fill” us.  We have the devil who according to Ephesians 2:2 is the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience.  He is represented by an attitude (spirit) of rebellion against God.  In contrast, the believer is being conformed to the image of Christ.  Satan presently controls the world and uses the flesh to do this.  When we turn from idols, we are really turning from the worship of Satan who uses many things that we consider legitimate today to keep us from the unhindered worship of the Lord.

What did we turn from when we came to that crossroads in our life where we realized that down the broad road lay total destruction, if not in this life, then surely in the next?  What did we turn to?  Many of us were not saved out of total immorality because our parents wouldn’t allow it, and in my case my funds weren’t sufficient to do much partying.  I have often asked myself what my life would have been like if I had never come to trust the Lord.  While I never wanted to be rich, I certainly would have liked to have had a cabin on a lake with a nice boat or two.  If we define Idolatry as anything that replaces our worship for the Lord, the cabin and boat could have become my idol.  I would like to have had things comfortable and pleasant in this life and I would have been occupied with the clean part of the world (if there is such a thing) and with pleasing the flesh.  It would have been nice to be accepted by all my “friends” because I was “successful” and because I associated with the right people.  That lifestyle is still attractive to me to this day.  But because I turned to something rather than just from something, I have had a very satisfying life without the cabin and the boat and the so-called friends.

We can tell what people worship by what is important to them.  What do they talk about?  How do they spend their money?  What excites them?  Where do they spend their time?  Have we really turned from idols to serve the living and true God?

Bruce Collins

No Comments »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>