We all know that we have been warned away from idols and most of us make a conscious effort to only worship the one true God. We make an effort to keep ourselves free from anything that would take our affection away from him because it is something that God will not tolerate. He pours his affection out on us and the only true response is to pour all our affection back on him. You know the greatest commandment to love God with all your heart, soul and strength. "All" means all so we have to make sure nothing else is draining off any of that "all". The Word says:
Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. (1 Corinthians 10:14)
It does not simply say avoid it but flee from it. Our hearts get so easily entangled and our minds so easily confused.
An idol is often an object but today there are more idols that are activities and ideas. Ideas can be some of the most powerful idols that slip through our defenses without us even realizing it. You would not believe how many of our youth claim to love Jesus, claim to follow him, honestly believing they are but have no idea what he has taught. They know about the cross, which is good, but they have spent no time in learning the Word.
This leads to such statements as "you don't need to know the Word of God to know God". This opens the doors to all the false teaching spirits who come in with their twisted half-truths. Yes, it is true that God loves everyone but it is not true that this gives all sinners a free pass. It is not true that "universal love" allows you to do whatever you want as long as you don't hurt anyone in doing it. Only those who repent of the things that offend God, who accept the sacrifice of Jesus and who enter into obedience to the Spirit are given a "free pass".
People are busy making up gods in their own image, in what they want, in what they think to be the truth. I like a quote I saw they other day but I don't remember the source. It said something about, everyone is entitled to their own opinion but not to their own truth; there is only one truth. If people think they can be a follower of Jesus Christ without knowing Jesus they are busy carving a 'Jesus' after their own desires. These people are to be pitied above all others because once their mind is set on this it is almost impossible to turn them back. This is not new and the Apostle Paul fought hard to keep believers from falling into it:
I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. (2 Corinthians 11:2-4)
The thought "you don't need to know the Word of God to know Jesus" is born in the pits of hell and is planted in the minds of undisciplined people. We must flee from such thoughts lest we are tempted to carve our own idols. There is only one Jesus and he is revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. We cannot accept some parts (salvation) and reject others (righteousness). There is only one truth and his name is Jesus. But if you don't even know what Truth taught how can you say that you follow him?
I am honestly fearful for a generation that believes they can create gods after their own image, who want to justify their sin by quoting universal love. How can we reach those who are lost in such a sea of self-deception? My heart breaks that they consider themselves followers of Jesus, safe from destruction and yet are hurtling down that path at such break-neck speed. My friends, make sure you are not found in that number; get grounded in the Word of God, in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Do not fall victim to your self-carved idols. There is only one Truth and his name is Jesus.