Friday, August 15, 2014

Morning Devotion: Romans 1:22-25

While I am writing this society is mourning the death of a famous actor and comedian. While he was extremely talented he also had a history of depression and addiction and it appears that he may have taken his own life. People who have never met or personally known him are wondering how he could have killed himself. While I don't know why this particular person committed suicide, I do know that money, fame, fortune, possessions, talent, drugs, activism, social justice, or power will not buy you happiness. It's the world, not Scripture, that says the meaning of life is to "be famous," "get rich," "make a difference," or be "remembered." There is no hope in any of that stuff! Christ is our only hope! To suggest that it comes from anything else is foolish.
Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,
God not only tells us that men who claimed to be wise became fools, he explains how that happened. Through Paul He carefully lays out the very actions and behaviors that made man foolish and will ultimately lead to his destruction if he does not repent.
Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
While environmentalism and evolution tends to come to mind here I think there are many ways we worship these images too. In our culture we no longer carve an idol out of a piece of wood or stone to bow down and pray to it, but we will spend lots of money on them to decorate our home or office. If we spend more money on decorating our homes then giving to the work of the Lord, that can be idolatry.  What we spend most of our time and resources on matters and the goal of the Christian is to use them to glorify God. It's not wrong to have nice things but look proportionately at how much you spend on your own pleasure and how much you spend on doing the work of the Father. Let us not exchange His glory for something that won't last!
Rom 1:24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves,
In the Old Testament God had set up a system of judges to lead His people. God was the leader, the king of His chosen people. The judges were merely bringing order based upon the law God had written. But the Israelites weren't happy with that. They wanted a king. After all, the other nations had kings. It seemed right to them to want to be like everyone else. Through Samuel, God warned them that a king was not what was best for them, but they demanded a king anyway, so God gave them what they asked for. He does that with all of us as is clearly seen in this text. God is going to allow foolish people to have what they think they want. In doing so they are going to reap the consequences and it will not be good.
Rom 1:25 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 is evident that the world is worshiping the created man, rather than God. While you won't find many graven images out of wood you can find bobble head dolls and Chia pets. Man's image is plastered on T-shirts, posters, magazines, hats, books, etc. We will spend tons of money to see them sing a song, tell a joke, throw a ball, or simply lecture us. We will stand in line to get their autograph or take their picture. Our time and resources are consumed by having more and more of what some mortal man or woman will do to bring us pleasure. Being entertained seems to be the goal and purpose in life for most of our society.

We are so surrounded by media that as Ravi Zacharias once said, we are no longer surrounded by it, we are in it. How do we, as moms, protect ourselves and our children from such a culture if we are in it? I think Halloween is a good example of what I mean by that. As a Christian mom I try to keep my children away from ghosts, monsters, witches, goblins, and other evil and yet, during the month of October you are bombarded with it when you go to the grocery store. When Gess was younger shopping was truly frightening for her! These images scared her, as they should. But what do I do? We need food to eat. I have to shop. I can't live in a cave my whole life.

Moms, we need to be vigilant and constantly examine our own actions. While enjoying secular entertainment isn't in itself bad, we need to be careful that our entertainment doesn't turn into worship. My daughter tends to get obsessive about things. There is a certain video game we had to take away from her, not because it was a bad game, but because it was all she could talk about and think about and it even affected her attitude. We could see that this was becoming an idol for her so we removed it from our life and home. We should do that in our own lives as well. I quit reading romantic novels years ago, even Christian ones. It made me long and wish for some unrealistic relationship that would never exist. It made me less content with my own marriage so I gave it up. Your idol can be anything, good or bad so be on the lookout for yourself as well as your children. Something innocent and fun can turn into as much of an idol as a golden calf. It's not what you do, it's why. If a thing or an activity is taking up all your focus, energy, money, and time it might be an idol. Train your children how to tell the difference and be wiling to cut off anything that might be a stumbling block for you. Just because it isn't a bad thing, doesn't mean its a good thing either.
1Co 6:12 "All things are lawful for me," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful for me," but I will not be dominated by anything.

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