Scripture: Romans 1:24-32
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.
Observation: Even if we choose to move away from God, there is still hope that can be found in forgiveness.
Application: Today I took my reading from the 21 day challenge into the Wednesday morning Coffee with the Preacher meeting. I didn’t preview the scripture before I got in the meeting, instead I just decided that we would turn to it and go from there. This was a tough reading and it brought up some of the controversy that is surrounding our United Methodist denomination today.
This scripture talks about people who were corrupt, of whom God had abandoned to their own hearts’ desires. That is the language that is used in the CEB version of the Bible.
24 So God abandoned them to their hearts’ desires,…
I like the NIV wording better because I don’t like to think about God abandoning anyone. I have often said, “You may abandon God but He will never abandon you.” This verse seems to challenge that notion a bit. We all have free will. God has made us to be creatures with our own minds and thoughts and with the ability to make our own choices in life. So yes, God will allow us to go off the deep end and dive into immorality and corruption if that is what we choose to do. We can be like the people that Paul is speaking about when he says in v25 that “they traded God’s truth for a lie.” In doing so we put ourselves in a position where God will leave us to our own desires.
As we talked together today the story of the prodigal son came up. The father in that story did not really abandon the son, I still have a hard time using that word here. The son made decisions and the father allowed him to do what he wanted to do, when he left for the far away land he also left behind the blessings and protection that the father was able to provide. His father never stopped loving him. Like the prodigal son, we can choose to leave God out of our lives, we can do our own thing, we can follow the sinful desires of the flesh if we choose.
What I think we took away from it all is that when the son returned to the father, he was accepted and forgiven. We may leave God behind in our lives, but there is always hope that we will return. I don’t want to think about God abandoning us, I don’t think that’s right, I think we abandon Him sometimes but He never gives up hope for us.
Prayer: Father of all of us,
When we chose to go the wrong way, when we choose to live our lives outside of your will, please keep drawing us back to you. Do not abandon us and allow us to wander on our own, seek us out and save us. Bring us back home.
Yield: I must always keep myself in the house of the Father. I choose each day whether to stay with God, or to go out on my own.