21 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. 22 Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25 They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.Romans 1:21-25
As we near the end of this february experiment in Romans 1, let’s try to cap the downside. That is, even if we don’t quite have Romans 1 memorized (or parts of it, or any of it!) we can still ensure that we reap benefits from this endeavor.
So, yes, please fllow the protocol we’ve talked about the last couple of days. Continue to read Romans 1 aloud and continue to listen to recordings of it. And please pick out keywords from today’s verses. Memorize the ordr of he keywords, and allow them to remind you of the context of the passage. Allow them to call to mind the full body of scripture that we’re memorizing.
But even if you find that a struggle–please live these verses today. Now, of course these versees have more to do with counterexmples than anything else–but do that that! Learn from others’ mistakes. You probably have heard this, but we don’t have enough time in our lives to make all of the mistakes and learn from them. So learn from other people’s mistakes, even if they lived 2,000 years ago. And as we discussed when we first looked at theses vrses, they are still highly applicable today.
How often do we delight in images of our favorite movies or Netflix series? How often do we exchange the–are you ready for this–GLORY OF THE IMMORTAL GOD–for other pleasures in life. Please, my friends, take pleasure in the good things of this world, but don’t make that your aim. We’re Christians, not hedonists. And Christians are called to enjoy pleasures and endure suffering. If we idolize pleasure–that is, make pleasure our god–then we can never have a proper relationship with God.
So, as I step down off of my soap box, please work today to memorize these verses. But please work to live these verses. Examine your heart. Do you find more joy in the expectation of the Kingdom or more joy in the expectation of the pint of Ben & Jerry’s that’s waiting for you in the freezer when you get home? You should rejoice in eating ice cream if you like it, but if you rejoice in it more than the coming Kingdom–more than the glory of the eternal God–then don’t condemn yourself, but pray earnestly that you want to want God more than food. You want to want God more than entertainment. Even when we don’t actually want God, one of the most powerful prayers we can pray is “God, help me to want you.”