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November 5 – Turning away from idols

“For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God.” – 1 Thessalonians 1:9

Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 1:6-12

By nature, every person is an idol worshipper. That’s how the Thessalonians and we too, are born as a consequence of the “fall” in the Garden. But the Lord performed the miracles of rebirth in Thessalonica. Paul preached, the Spirit was active and hearts were made new. Idol worshippers were transformed into God worshippers. False Gods were abandoned and the true God was embraced.

Those two activities always accompany true conversion. Turning from idols to God is evidence of authentic rebirth. When a man continues to serve idols he is not familiar with true conversion. The same is true for one who turns only temporarily from false gods. Think of Orpah (Ruth 1:14). She had been told of the true God of Israel by Naomi. When Naomi informed her daughters-in-law that she was returning to the land of the true God, initially Orpah followed her, turning away from her false gods and going with Naomi to the true God. However, she turned and returned to her country, her people and her false gods. Authentic rebirth had not found root in Orpah’s heart.

However, in Thessalonica God had performed the miracle of regeneration. Think about that today as you go to worship, for it is still through preaching that men and women are regenerated. God will never abandon the work of His hands. What a blessed comfort for us to know that: He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion on the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6).

Suggestions for prayer

As you worship on this Lord’s Day, ask God to show you the idols in your life and then ask Him to turn your heart away from them. Ask Him for the necessary grace and desire to serve only Him. Thank Him for the miracle of rebirth.

Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at

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