“Little children, keep yourselves from idols,” was the injunction of the loving apostle John, and he wrote thus in love, because he knew that, if God sees us making idols of anything, he will either break our idols or break us.
This is the one easily besetting sin of our nature—to turn aside from the living God and to make unto ourselves idols in some fashion or another; for the essence of idolatry is this—to love anything better than God, to trust anything more than God, to wish to have a God other than we have, or to have some signs and wonders by which we may see him, some outward symbol or manifestation that can be seen with the eye or heard with the ear rather than to rest in an invisible God and believe the faithful promise of Him whom eye hath not seen nor ear heard.
Your Lord is very jealous of your love, O believer. Did He choose you? He cannot bear that you should choose another.
In its grosser manifestations, idolatry is the desire of man to see God with his eyes, to have some outward representation of him who cannot be represented; who is too great, too spiritual, ever to be described by human language, much less to be set forth by images of wood, and stone, however elaborately carved and cunningly overlaid with gold. There is a great God who filleth all space, and yet is greater than space, whose existence is without beginning and without end, who is everywhere present, and universally self-existent; but man is so unspiritual that he will not worship this great invisible One in spirit and in truth, but craves after outward similitudes, symbols, and signs.
The leaning of our evil heart is towards some form, symbol, or imagery which we judge may help our thought and intensify our worship. All this comes of evil, and leads to evil.
When some men come to die, the religion which they themselves have thought out and invented will yield them no more confidence than the religion of the Roman Catholic sculptor who, on his death-bed, was visited by his priest. The priest said, “You are now departing out of this life;” and holding up a beautiful crucifix, he cried, “Behold your God, who died for you.” “Alas!” said the sculptor, “I made it.” There was no comfort for him in the work of his own hands; and there will be no comfort in a religion of one’s own devising. That which was created in the brain cannot yield comfort to the heart.
Aspire to be something more than the mass of church members. Lift up your cry to God and beseech him to fire you with a nobler ambition than that which possesses the common Christian—that you may be found faithful unto God at the last, and may win many crowns for your Lord and Master, Christ.
— A compilation of various quotes gleaned from the sermons of Charles Spurgeon to create a succinct commentary for the reader’s edification.