"But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness. They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. 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 made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen." (Romans 1:18-25 NLT)
I find this passage to be both terrifying and convicting, because when I think of "they" that Paul is talking about, I find that sometimes my name can be replaced with "they".
"So [Keela] has no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, [Keela] knew God, but [she] wouldn't worship Him as God or even give him thanks. And [Keela] began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, [her] mind became dark and confused....[Keela] traded the truth about God for a lie."
Can you relate? Can your name also be inserted into this passage, too?
William Barclay summed up the passage like this: "Instead of looking out to God, they looked into themselves." And their hearts were darkened, their minds confused, and their entire lives fell into a pit of despair and emptiness.
All because they became consumed with themselves instead of the Holy God.
My heart wrenches.
The sad reality is that we seek wisdom and happiness independent of God, and God gives us over to futility and frustration when we do. Why? Because without God, that's all there is.
God IS love and wisdom and joy, and it is IMPOSSIBLE to find those things without Him being in the midst of us. We are dependent on Him, not independent of Him.
We know this, yet...we still chase the world. We still think that we can do this all on our own. We still look for satisfaction in "success" and boys and the perfect body.
We shut the truth out, suppress the righteous truth that is God. We instead convince ourselves that God isn't enough and that we are everything we need.
I worship myself, the created thing, when I start to believe that I am enough, that this world holds my desires in an outstretched palm. I idolize the lies instead of worshiping the Creator, the only truth in this dark world.
We cannot look to ourselves or to the world for provision, or we trade the truth about God for a lie. We must always look to God, always remind ourselves that He is enough, and always remember grace.
Or we will end up worshiping creation, not the Creator, and our hearts and lives will be given over to evil until we relinquish our pride and turn back to God.
Turn back to God now.
Am I looking to myself or to the world to meet my needs? Am I looking for satisfaction in creation, or am I completely depending on the Creator?
Lord, forgive me for looking to myself instead of to you. Forgive me for worshiping creation. Move my heart back to a state of surrender, repentance, and worship of YOU, Jesus. I don't want to run from you. I don't want my heart to be darkened. I want you, Lord. Thank you for the gift of grace. Thank you for forgiving me right now and making me new. Fill me heart again with your truth. In Jesus' name, Amen.