Romans 1:23-25 (VOICE) 23 only a fool would trade the splendor and beauty of the immortal God to worship images of the common man or woman, bird or reptile, or the next beast that tromps along. 24 So God gave them just what their lustful hearts desired. As a result, they violated their bodies and invited shame into their lives. 25 How? By choosing a foolish lie over God’s truth. They gave their lives and devotion to the creature rather than to the Creator Himself, who is blessed forever and ever. Amen.
This is not one of those happy or encouraging passages from scripture. In this passage Paul is talking about those that know and have heard the gospel, but for one reason or another, have not allowed the gospel to take control of their lives and change them from the inside out.
As we read these words from Romans I imagine how you hear them, and what your gut reaction to them is? I wonder if, like me, you hear those opening words, ‘only a fool would trade the splendor and beauty of the immortal God…..’ and the first thing I think is, ‘well, thank goodness that I am no fool!
But, when we look plainly at our lives and the choices we make, all of us often choose the creature or the creation over the Creator. Paul is talking here about a specific kind of idol worship – literally exchanging the idea of God, which cannot be contained in an image, for an image of a person or animal.
I doubt any of us have ever participated in this type of idol worship. I don’t know many that pray or bow down to golden calves, bronze statues, a favorite portrait, or anything else, really. And yet, how often do we place things: money, status, possessions, etc where only God belongs? How often do we willingly exchange the Creator of the universe in our hearts and lives, for a pale imitation that has neither the power nor inclination to help, guide, or save us?
Too often we believe the foolish lie that there is anything other than God that can fill the space in our hearts, lives, and souls made only for him. We believe the lie and we make these exchanges because we are seeking after happiness and fulfillment. Unfortunately, the more we try to stuff and fill into the ‘God-shaped hole’ in our hearts, the emptier we feel and the emptier we become.
The only way to truly find joy and fulfillment, purpose and meaning is by holding fast to the truth of Jesus Christ and opening our hearts and lives to be led by him and his Holy Spirit.
Sharing God’s Love,
Prayer: Jesus, help us this day hold fast to the truth that you bring and the truth that you are. Fill us with your Spirit so that we might know peace and purpose. Keep us from foolishly chasing after that which will never satisfy us. Amen.