You know what I've learned from reading my new ESV Study Bible? When I'm really reading the Bible, as opposed to reading over it, it takes a lot longer.
I've been reading Romans 1 for the 4th day in a row. There's so much to digest that I find myself re-reading the same verses over several times, then reading the study notes, then going back and reading the verses again.
Today - I couldn't get away from verse 21. It really left me with a sense of fear and a warning to remain in faith, real faith.
Before reading this verse this week, Matthew 7:23 was always that verse that arose this type of fear in my heart. You know the verse. It's the 'depart from me, I never knew you" verse. It's the verse where people think they have it all together because they've done some stuff but in the end, all they ever did was do stuff. Worthless.
But reading this Romans verse today almost surfaces the same kind of fear.
We're told in verses 19 and 20, basically that people have no excuse for not knowing of God, or even knowing God, as creation itself points that there is a creator. Verse 20 says, "For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse."
Then comes the hammer in 21, "For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened."
And you know what that sounds like to me? It sounds like many of us. It sounds like where we are when we know there is a God, we may even proclaim there is a God, but it changes nothing about us. It's a head thing, not a heart thing.
And I wonder, how? How can you know, and see, and believe there is a God and yet not honor Him and not give thanks to Him?! But the truth is, we do it every day. In our apathy. In our complacency.
The whole 'being in awe' idea would come naturally if we really realized who God was. The 'training up of a child' would happen through the overflow of works that came from a heart that really understood the heart of the gospel.
Honoring and thankfulness would be automatic.
And for me, the question must be asked, "Is my faith becoming futile?" Is it just something I 'do'? (We see where that got those in Matthew 7.) Is it just something I profess? (Those will say to me "Lord, Lord... and I will say, 'depart from me, I never knew you.") Because - really - what good are those things anyway? Rather - my faith should be a heart changing, life altering, joyful experience of growth, relationship and love with the author and creator of time. Is that really the faith I possess?
Hard stuff today, I tell you, hard.