Creator vs. Creation

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Wednesday, January 28, 2015 0 comments

by Logan Ames

As I watched the postgame show after this year’s AFC Championship game in which the New England Patriots soundly defeated the Indianapolis Colts, I saw a giant sign in the stands that read, “In Bill We Trust”. This sign was a reference to the Patriots’ coach, Bill Belichick, who is widely considered the best head coach in the game. The fans waived this sign proudly and the game announcers even drew attention to the sign in their own moment of praise for the man’s accomplishments. Just a few weeks before that, a reporter asked new University of Michigan football head coach Jim Harbaugh whether or not he is comfortable with people calling him “The Messiah” because he is going to be the savior of the football program. To his credit, he said, “I’m not comfortable with that at all”. But that hasn’t stopped Michigan followers from viewing him in this manner. I watch sports enough that I can’t say I’m surprised by these reactions to mere men for their accomplishments. But because I know there is only one Messiah in whom we can trust, it catches my attention. One might wonder, how did these people get to this point?

I would contend that their outward words and actions weren’t produced overnight. In Romans 1:18-25, the Apostle Paul explains the progression of sin and its consequences. The end consequence is that “God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another” (v. 24). Once they were given over, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator” (v. 25). So those are the results. But what caused those results? We see in verse 21 that it started with their “thinking”. That thinking included not glorifying God, not thanking him, and forgetting that he is the immortal Creator while they and everything around them are just parts of a mortal creation. Because “their thinking became futile”, they found themselves replacing the God they once knew with created things and persons in a way they probably never would’ve imagined doing. We need to learn from their path. It didn’t happen overnight. As the Lord directly told Cain as recorded in Genesis 4:7, “Sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it”. We need to accept that the battle is raging over our minds whether we consciously recognize it or not.

When you don’t master the sin that “desires to have you”, you really only have two choices from that point forward. You can either accept the reality that you cannot overcome it in your own power and must rely on the grace and mercy of God through the Lord Jesus Christ, or you can basically throw in the towel and conclude that you might as well keep living in sin because you can’t stop it or just don’t want to. The people that Paul is talking about in the passage above are those who did know God, but have simply not recognized the power God has given them over sin. It’s interesting that God’s righteous wrath did not destroy them. Instead, he simply gave them over and allowed them to experience the due consequences of their actions. Think about that. The Spirit revealed something to me in this passage. It is not God’s grace that allows us to continue in our sins, but his wrath. When we make choices to abandon wise thinking and begin to exchange truth for lies, God allows us to experience the consequences of playing with those fires. On the contrary, it is God’s grace and mercy that literally pulls us out of our sin when we can’t seem to do it ourselves. This is not fun, friends. When you are really battling your desire for sin and God puts up roadblocks for you, it might be frustrating. At the same time, it gives you a chance to look back and be thankful for how he stopped you.

Recently, I have begun to recognize how this plays out in my own life. As I’ve struggled to step away from destructive choices, I have literally gone to bed many nights asking God to show his mercy by getting me out of my mess. I’ve done this after I have seen that my repeated attempts to get myself out of it have failed, and that there are times I have just chosen what is wrong even though I know it leads to destruction and ultimately desire not to sin. If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you know the difference between your flesh and the work of the Spirit in you. You know that while you may have an overarching desire to not sin that has come from the Holy Spirit dwelling in you, there are still desires of the flesh that seem to attack you almost every day. I encourage you to ask God to show his mercy by leading you out of your mess.

It’s the devil who wants to beat you down for the mistakes you’ve made. But even after you have replaced God with a created thing, you still have hope. When you find yourself in despair after you have given in to sin, I urge you to go back and replay in your mind how you got to that point. Where did your thinking begin to change? Where did lies replace the truth about God that you knew? As those things become clearer to you, repent by not only confessing your sins to God but also by humbly asking him to intervene when you face the temptation again.

There are many ways that we worship creation over the Creator as the Romans did. It may be an athlete, singer, movie star, or politician that you depend on to give you what you feel you need. It may even be your local pastor or worship leader, whose abilities have caused you to forget that the same Holy Spirit who moves through them also moves through YOU. As sons and daughters, you may still be trying to always please your parents. As parents, you may be putting your children’s opinions of you above God’s. These are all forms of worshiping creation over the Creator. We may not even realize the ridiculousness of it until we step away and evaluate.

In Luke 17:11-14, all that a group of 10 lepers had to do was stand at a distance and call out to Jesus to have pity on them as he passed them by. They recognized that their state was a total disaster. They didn’t even need to ask for a specific result or act from Jesus, but needed only to appeal to his compassion for their helpless situation. Be encouraged from this story that God knows your helpless state as a slave to your sin and the ONLY thing you need to do is call out to him. He may ask for steps of faith after that just as Jesus did in the story. But he will surely come to your aid if you turn to him and admit that he is Creator and the only One worthy of your praise. If this has struck a nerve with you, don’t delay. Your stand upon the truth begins today.