Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Ever since I was a boy, I have had a deep love of nature. It is the place I go to let God touch my heart and refresh me. That’s what sets me apart from others who go there to let nature refresh them. Nature is their god of choice. Other moments demand other gods. Emotional, physical, and relational needs stimulate the formation of false gods. A god is defined as anyone or anything from which we seek to gain human value. Our attempt to satisfy self through relationships, possessions, position, and power, is idolatry. We resist calling it idolatry, yet our attempts to use people, activities, or things to enhance our worth substitutes a false god for the real One.
There is another important passage of Scripture in Romans 1, where the Apostle Paul says, “But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles. 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.”
That’s why Paul can say that no idolater “has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.” If sexual immorality is our means of producing a sense of worth and value as a person, then we are an idolater. If we allow impurity in any form to be our means of earning acceptance with people, then we are guilty of idolatry. If we attempt to improve our status with people or our opinion of ourselves in our own mind through possessions or position or power, then we are worshipping an idol. Once aware of that idolatry, anyone who continues in it is proving that their worship of creation is more important than the worship of the Creator, and they are without hope for eternity.
I am so thankful for my times in the woods. I see the invisible power and divine nature of God in all of creation. But creation is not God. I do not worship a non-existent mother earth. God’s creation is a means of knowing Him. So don’t hug trees – honor the God who created trees. Don’t bury the pain of emotions in immoral or impure thoughts and actions – but embrace that pain as a means of experiencing the Presence of Jesus Christ. Don’t seek your identity in things but find your true identity in the Creator of all things. Your worth can only be truly determined by the One who made you. Worship Him and Him alone. Don’t settle for less. If you do, that’s exactly what you’ll get.