Text: Romans 1:21-32
Theme: Those who don’t worship God as God are fools.
Key verses: “Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols…So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired…” (v. 21-24a). “Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let things that should never be done. Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder…They invent new ways of sinning…refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too” (v. 28-32).
What God said to me: Downward. That is where all humans head if they refuse to worship me. Sadly, they use the free will I gave them to choose against worshiping me. They use the mind I gave them to think up foolishness. They use the authority and decision-making privileges I loaned them to make absurd claims of being wise. And they abuse the precious gift of my power and presence and love by turning to worthless idols instead. There is no excuse for any of this, and I will not let them off the hook. The soul that sins must die. That is my law. They will receive a harsh and permanent judgement if they continue to turn away from me and my demands. I am not a God who can be mocked. I will repay the wages of their sin with death. Notice the slow fade that occurs when a person refuses to worship me. According to Paul, refusing to worship leads to not being thankful. From there they slide down to foolish ideas and then become dark and confused. They become utter fools, denying the true God. The ultimate end happens when I abandon them. Paul repeats that phrase, “abandoned by God,” three times in these opening words of his letter. He wanted to drive home the utter hopelessness and tragedy of a live lived apart from worshiping God. Worship is a big deal to me–and it should be to you as well, Dwayne. Even my children can refuse to worship me from time to time. Although I will never leave or forsake you (ie, abandon you), you can still slide quite a ways down the slippery slope. Your mind can become dark and confused too, if you continue on a path of worshiping other things besides me.
What I said to God: Thank You, most holy, glorious, ever-living God for speaking so clearly to my spirit today. I am humbled that You would allow me to know You and serve You. I am amazed by Your grace and mercy. Please help me be a light to those around me today, and help us as our team prepares to leave for Africa tomorrow. What a privilege to be on mission for You!