Saturday, January 8, 2011

Romans 1

...31without understanding, untrustworthy, unloving, unmerciful; 32and although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.   This last part reminds me of the pre-Paul/Saul who gave his approval to the stoning of Stephen.  I wonder if he was reminded, too.

Regarding verses 23 through the end of the chapter, what stands out to me is what people have done...It's Christmas time and I have just returned from the mall.  As I read how folks have exchanged the worship of the ever-living God for man-made things, I am reminded of the exchange this time of year for the man-made elf and 8 tiny reindeer.  If I have one more "brother" or "sister" ask me about "Santa", I think my head might explode.  (Sorry, that was a literary tactic (hyperbole, not a lie, lest I get in trouble with Romans myself.)) 

The Word continues with God letting people go to do whatever their hearts desired...vile, degrading things...again, the mall experience comes to mind and the public displays of perversity.  What is so sad is that many believe the lie that they are not doing anything wrong as long as they don't hurt anyone else.  Given some of the behavior, I bet their mothers would be hurt...I bet in time, some of them or their partners in lust will recognize their hurt.  Even sadder is that some of them are doing it and they are hurting right now.  How can we as the operating Body of Christ miss loving on these people...even within our own walls?

 The descriptors for the wickedness is detailed in the Scripture and a good deal of this is certainly on display at the mall, the local mass-shopping stores, the highways and byways, etc.  The disturbing thing is it is also on display in our churches.  Quarrelers, deceivers, bad-natured folk, gossipers, greedy (ever see a pot-luck dinner?), backstabbers, God-haters, insolent, prideful, boastful...disobedient, promise-breakers, heartless, merciless...applauding others to join in the ways of the unwise.

How am I careful to curtail my words, my looks and my posture to ensure that I do not resemble the condemned?

How do I encourage the way of the Wise?  God-loving attitudes? Mercy? Obedience?  Truth?

How prepared am I to confront these activities and point to Christ?

Do I look like the opposite of these words?  Would outsiders agree?

Lord, help me to love in truth, to yield to You for sanctification sake and to be careful for the sake of Your Very Great Name.

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