We All Worship Something
In the words of Bob Dylan, you gotta serve somebody. It’s true—we all worship something. The only question is what.
Too often in our human futility, we end up leaning on and ultimately serving crafty little creations of our own invention. Throughout history, mankind’s fundamental problem has been that we keep creating false gods to whom we go seeking false salvation. These idols are simply heart-level substitutes for the real God. Rather than looking to the Lord as the object of our devotion and the source of our satisfaction, we take the good things that He created for our enjoyment and turn them into vain replacements for Him.
C.S. Lewis puts it this way: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”
Whichever heart-level substitutes we may rely on, these idols are powerless. They cannot help us. As Isaiah makes clear, they’ve never been able to tell us the future or even help us reflect on the past; neither can they give counsel. They meet our questions with mere silence and unfulfilled expectations (Isaiah 41:22-23, 28-29).
Only the true and living God knows everything from beginning to end. He broke through the silence, foretelling what was to come. He overwhelms darkness with His light. He replaces the “rough places” of wickedness with the “level ground” of righteousness. Although we once turned our backs on Him, He sent His Servant, Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor.
You and I are constantly confronted by idols that call out for our attention and entice us to find fulfillment in them rather than God. What are the ones that call loudest to you? Know that they are lying (though of course they don’t tell you that). God’s word warns us of the shame that lies in worshiping them and leads us on a better way: to find fulfillment in serving and being served by Him.
You gotta serve somebody today. Be sure to make it the living, loving God.
The Righteous Shall Live by Faith
16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith,5 as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”6
God's Wrath on Unrighteousness
18For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world,7 in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.
28And 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. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know God's righteous decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.
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