Bible Verse: “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.”
Have you ever been with your friends, co-workers, or family to an Escape Room? It can be a fun way to spend an evening. A group of up to 6 people can choose the level of difficulty for the room they will try to escape from by solving various clues, and then the clock starts ticking. Everyone’s deductive reasoning abilities are put to the test as you try to figure out the answers to the solution that will allow you to escape in time. As time wound down people started thinking, “How will we ever get out of here?” The tension was high even though we knew that we would be let out, whether we found the exit solution or not.
The apostle Paul tells us how God reveals himself through all the things He made in Creation, and how He has placed the knowledge of this truth inside us. Paul also reminds us that as sinners, we have chosen to suppress this truth about our Creator, and raised our own flag of independence in an act of treason.
The consequences of our sinful actions are far-reaching. They reveal to us how we have decided that we know better the things we want, and in essence, we have placed ourselves ahead of God. In practice, it means that we have exchanged worshipping Him for something or someone else, a false idol. And idols can never deliver on their perceived promises. It’s no wonder that people often feel disappointed or trapped in their circumstances. No matter how many life puzzles we try to solve in our own wisdom and strength, how can we possibly escape from this self-imposed prison room?
In Paul’s letter to the Romans, he provides us with a clue. The first thing we must do, if we want to escape the idols of our heart and the hardening that comes with them, is to make good use of our disappointments. Why? Because the worst thing God can do to us is to give whatever we desire, without thought for whether they are beneficial or harmful to us or others. Moreover, it is usually in the bad times that we most clearly can see our idols. It’s usually then that we can see that what we have been looking for in the things of this world, only Jesus can give us. Besides making good use of our troubles, the second thing we must do to escape the idols of our heart is to do what the angels do, which is to endlessly praise God. The only way to get our heart to stop worshiping the wrong things is to start worshipping the right thing, which is our heavenly Father. The deepest passions of angels’ hearts are satisfied by looking at the love, beauty, and wisdom of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:11-12). Revelling in Him, rejoicing in Him, singing praises to Him. When your heart’s deepest passions are satisfied by praising and adoring Jesus Christ, then all other passions are put in their place. Praise be to our Lord, Jesus Christ!
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In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.