As a parent, we’ve all been there. We are observing one of our kids in the mental debate of a choice. Perhaps it’s between two choices… perhaps it’s just to do or not to do… Either way, they are faced with (what seems to us) an obvious choice… and they choose wrong.
In fact… if you’ve been a parent for more than a decade, not only have you witnessed this, but you’ve begun to reflect on your own poor choices in childhood and thought… why in the world did my parents not stop me on that one. Yep. As a parent, we sometimes have to make the tough decision, to let our kids make the wrong one.
God did this very same thing and Paul talks about it in Romans 1. I am starting a new series on Romans today where I will go chapter by chapter each day, picking out one truth, one big idea from each chapter. Today, it’s the phrase “God gave them up”.
To set the stage, Paul is writing to the church of Rome, having not been there yet. Unlike most of his letters, this one was to a church he did not start. So his letter has a much more general introduction than some of the others… including a general back story to the overall gospel message.
The second half of the chapter is all about God’s wrath on the unrighteous. Repeatedly, Paul points out the wrong choices ‘the people’ were making and that God gave them up to those choices. “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen” (Rom 1:24-25)
God (like us as parents) was fully aware that simply making His people choose wisely would teach them nothing. He had to leave them up to their free will and suffer the consequences for those bad choices. Another place He demonstrates this same type of thinking is in the parable of the Prodigal Son in Luke 15.
Here is a son that makes a bad choice to take his inheritance early and basically disown his family, squander everything he has until he hits rock bottom. The father in the story allows his son to make these bad choices, but the entire time, is ready and open for his return. When the son does eventually return (hat in hand), the father receives him with open arms and throws a party. In this story, the father allowed the son to make the wrong choice so he would hopefully learn and value what the father had for him all along.
Our Father in Heaven is like that father. He is always there. But if we continue to deny Him and seek to disown Him, He will give us up to our desires. But this is not out of punishment. Like the father of the prodigal son, our Father in Heaven is deeply wanting us to learn and return.
Whether we return to him in minutes or years, He receives us the same way the prodigal father received his son… He celebrates our return.
I pray that you appreciate my blogs. They are my way of journaling as I read His word. If you do like them, please be sure to click the Follow Hisfamily Ministries button left of this post AND to spread the word. Share these posts with others and perhaps they will be blessed too.