They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshipped and served created things rather than the Creator… Romans 1:25
It’s well accepted that this section of Scripture is highlighting our depravity as humans. The story of how we moved so far away from God’s design for us and of God giving us over to our own desires is central to understanding the present condition of humanity and our need for redemption.
What’s frightening about this verse to me, though, is how it can highlight the way many of us within the Church resemble more closely the unregenerate than those made new. A mark of the depth of our ungodliness is worshipping created things rather than the creator, and the Scripture writer unpacks this as symptomatic of exchanging the Truth for a lie.
How often do we who follow Jesus fall into this old way of thinking? We take those things which were made by human hands, crafted by God-given but human creativity, designed for worship and make these tools for worship the things we allow to block our view of God… allowing them to become our objects of worship.
Think about it: buildings meant as a place where the ekklesia gathers, designed to be the temporary, local container of the Church in unified worship, instead become our definition of ‘church’ — and therefore become ‘too sacred’ to be used as a tool in the apostolic, prophetic, or evangelistic flavors of ministry. A musical style becomes more important than worship. A particular flow for our worship gatherings becomes something worth fighting or leaving for. We draw legalistic boundaries which are founded in personal preference…tantamount to the worship of a created thing. Rather than pursuing the Creator, we rejoice in what we have created. And it seems to happen so gradually; like frogs in proverbial boiling pots we grow comfortable with what is deadly.
So what can we do?
The answer is simple, but not easy: I believe we choose to live as called, gathered, and sent ones. We call each other to more, and urge one another to live in the reality of being slaves to righteousness — after all, it’s who we are now if we are in Jesus…the same Scripture writer speaks to this later in the book (cf. Romans 6:18). If my will and my heart are tied to Christ’s, then my mission is His and my life is in Him… settling for anything else is counterfeit. If Jesus, through us, develops disciples who desire only Jesus, we will not so easily settle for and rejoice in the boiling pot of worshipping the created.