Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
It’s a simple matter too look at this passage and dismiss it entirely as irrelevant. After all, there are no little stone gods nor candlelit alcoves in honor of carved images in my house.
And yet I find I am not so innocent after all.
When I examine my life in the light of the Word of God, I have to confess there are times when I have “worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator:” a creature named Heather Davis.
This self-worship is called “pride” and it is detestable to a holy God – a putting of self in His rightful place.
With this in mind, as I read verse 18, I found not a condemnation of all those godless and wicked people out there in the world, but a warning that my life must not suppress the truth.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.
Like Paul, I need to live as one who is not ashamed of the Good News, keeping in mind the fact that my role is one of immense and grave privilege. I am an ambassador for the King of kings and Lord of lords. As such, the way I live my life reflects Him, and if I live for myself, it reflects him inaccurately.
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.
Moving on to verse 28, I have to ask myself: How does this apply to me? It is of no use to read this on behalf of others only. Have I lived so the world can know I not only consider God worth knowing, I consider Him worth loving and obeying? Or do I put my own comfort, desires, or preferences in a position of higher authority than His will?
These are sobering questions. As I read on, I find I have been envious. I have been guilty of both slander and gossip, of acting maliciously, of foolishness and arrogance. I have been faithless.
As much as I would like to declare these are all sins from my distant past, I must be honest. I have been guilty of many of them in recent days.
And I am sorry. Truly, genuinely sorry. Not because of the people I have hurt, though I am sorry for them as well. Most of all, I am sorry for tarnishing the good Name of my Creator.
I do not applaud these things – not in me, not in others. Instead, I ask each day for the Lord to open my eyes to them in myself. My desire and intense longing is to walk humbly before my God, worship Him as God and dying to that twisted old creature called self.
Interestingly enough, all of my failures and crimes really only prove the truth of the basic tenants of my faith.
I am a sinner, incapable of saving myself. I am in need of a Savior, and when I fall, I cling to Him. I am thankful for Him not because I am so wonderful, but because I am so wretched.
Understanding this, how could I fail to worship such a merciful and magnificent Creator?
He must increase, and I must decrease!
Lord, have Your way in me. Forgive my every act of self- aggrandizement and change my life to one lived fully for You. May I be a tool useful to You, never suppressing Your Truth but living it out in heartfelt humility and joy in Your salvation, amen.