For although they knew God, they neither glorified Him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
Paul says that mankind is without excuse in knowing, acknowledging, and worshipping God because God has plainly made Himself known to them in creation. Their choice to exchange God’s immortal glory for images made to look like mortal man, birds, and animals begins an inevitable process of spiritual decline and immorality. The spiral of sin begins when we turn our hearts from the Living God towards images created to our likeness. It is interesting to note that we become like the gods we choose to worship and serve. At this point, God gives us over to whatever we choose to worship.
For example, if we worship money, we may be driven to give all our time, energy, and heart to make more money. Jesus addressed this in Matthew 6:24:
“No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” In Romans 1:21-32, we can see the spiral of sin as the Gentiles were given over to the sinful desires of their hearts. Their actions resulted in sexual impurity, exchanging God’s truth for a lie, and becoming filled with wickedness, envy, murder, strife and malice. We must always be certain that in every area of our lives we put the Lord first, worshipping and seeking Him alone, and not allow the things we worship other than God to become paramount.
Forgive me for crafting my own “idols” of worship – money, success, power. Forgive me Lord, for anything or anyone that I put in the place of my relationship with You. I find myself over and over turning to false idols – things that lure my heart away from You.
Sometimes I even put relationship with others before You, or fear man rather than fear You. Help me to throw off everything that encumbers my relationship with You and lead me in your everlasting ways.
In Jesus’ name, Amen