Since this chapter is jam packed full of good stuff, I am going to break it down by scriptures, focusing on the ones that stuck out to me.
Romans 1:9 – the first thing to grab me was Paul’s character as a leader. He states that “without ceasing” he makes mention of the Roman people in his prayers. The Amplified version says “incessantly”. As leader we need to make sure we are continually praying for those who are under us. They need our prayers, as Paul seemed to be very aware of. Without this necessary foundation in our leadership, we are sure to have problems with those we minister to. This challenged me to pray more for those God has entrusted me with! It’s amazing what you get out of one verse!
Romans 1:16 – This is a foundational scripture which again illustrates Paul’s character. As leaders we are not to be ashamed of this precious Gospel! We need to understand its power, and proclaim it to everyone we come in contact with. You see, Paul understood his mission and was proud to proclaim the Good News. However, too often we are reluctant. We are afraid of what others will think and are ashamed to share the Gospel; even embarrassed. God, help us to seize every opportunity You give us to share this precious message and witness how a life can be forever changed by it! Grant us boldness and a passion for others as Paul had!
Romans 1:20 – This verse really resonated with me. I love being outside and find that my idea of relaxation after a hard season is seclusion in God’s wonderful creation! Probably, why our last trip to Tennessee, staying in a cabin, was one of my favorite vacations! Although referencing a people who knew God but didn’t acknowledge Him as Lord, this scripture really stuck out to me for one point: the invisible things of God are clearly seen in His creation! You can’t miss them! If you take time to look at the world we live in, you will clearly see that God exists! Consider the leaf on a tree or the delicate snowflake; something we may see every day but not really regard! They scream of a Creator; of being fashioned and formed by a master Designer! Take a look at some of these amazing pictures of snowflakes!
(Ooops…lol. not sure how the leaf ended up in the slideshow! It’s cool either way but I just want you to know that it’s not a snowflake…hehe)
Romans 1:21-23 – This is an unsettling passage of scripture. It talks of people who knew God but decided not to acknowledge Him as God! Instead they decided to trust in their own thoughts and ideas about life! They proclaimed to be smart, wise, and enlightened! Yet they became very foolish in their thinking. I like how the Message puts it, “they trivialized themselves into silliness and confusion so that there was neither sense nor direction left in their lives. They pretended to know it all, but were illiterate regarding life.” They decided to follow after their own gods instead making idols fashioned after people, birds, animals, and reptiles. How often do we hear of people today being “enlightened” and we quickly see them fade away from the truth? It’s sad to think about. And you look at them and think, “How in the world did that happen? What were they thinking?” Yet they are not too far off from where we may find ourselves at times. Have you ever thought that your way was better that God’s; that you knew best? This is how it all starts. Then you start setting up idols in your life. Now it’s not like you go out and start carving images out of wood, but maybe you start putting things before God. Other things start to compete with Him in your life! Now I don’t have the space to write down all my thoughts about this, but if this is something you may be struggling with, if you just can’t seem to fit God into your life, it’s time to reexamine your priorities. A good read to help with this is “ Idol Girls: What’s Your Obsession” by Hayley Dimarco. Now although it is geared toward teenage girls, it has some great principles in it for anyone who may need to reassess their focus!
Romans 1: 24-32 – So after the people in the previous verses decide that they knew best, God decides to give them up! He turned them over to the lust of their own hearts, vile affections, and reprobate minds. That’s what they wanted so God said, “Okay, I won’t force you to serve me!”, and He let them go! I like how the Message puts it, “Since they didn’t bother to acknowledge God, God quit bothering them and let them run loose.” What a sad scene! Then what followed: sin! The Bible says that both men and women went against their natural use that God created them for. The New Living Translation says this, “As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other.” Then things got worse and all manner of sin was present in their lives. And worst of all, they knew that what they were doing was wrong and yet they continued in their sinful ways and encouraged and applauded others to do so as well! What a heartbreaking end to the first chapter. And what a scary place to be! To think of God giving me up and turning me over to myself! And to think of willfully sinning against God and encouraging others to! Yet is this so far removed from our world today? This chapter left me with a lot to think about and a heaviness of heart to pray for this generation!