“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.” (Romans 1:21)
I once heard an old pastor explain, “you have lose them before you can save them.” Romans 1:21 is the beginning point of lostness. A heart that looks like Romans 1:21 is what leads God to pour out his just wrath upon us. Paul described this type of heart as “futile” or hollow or vain or pointless.
Notice that Paul explained all humans have an innate or inherent or natural knowledge of God. This is not a saving knowledge of God, but an understanding that we have a creator. Atheistic philosophical positions can be reasonable and logical, yet false. Humans can reason away God, but that doesn’t mean God is dead or never existed. Rather, it means that humans can convince ourselves that God does not exist. This verse, as well as the human experience teach that we all have a commonsense innate knowledge of God.
However, our problem is that all people suppress (v18) these innate truths and distort (v21-23) these natural understandings, thus we are all guilty and God’s wrath is justifiable. So the question arises, “what should we do with this natural knowledge that there is a creator God?” Romans 1:21 explains we should honor and thank him. Because there is a Creator-God and He created us, we should honor and thank Him. We should be thankful worshipers. Becoming thankful worshipers is Paul’s answer to hollowness.
Honor is about making much of someone. We should make much of our Creator-God. 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches that no matter what we are doing we should glorify God. We should worship Him. There is none like Him, He is our Creator, and we should make much of him, and less of ourselves. But, is that what we do? No, we actually dishonor God. We degrade Him, cheapen Him, and lower Him. We declare Him dead, we ignore Him, we glorify ourselves, we worship ourselves.
Further, we should also thank Him. We should recognize who He is, give Him credit, have gratitude, and thank Him. In fact, just like 1 Corinthians 10:31 and the lifestyle of glorifying and honor God, we should also have a lifestyle of thankfulness. But, is thankfulness a theme of your life? For most it isn’t. Most people’s lives are marked by complaining, by ingratitude, and by grumbling. Most express dissatisfaction, not thankfulness, for their circumstances. Most express annoyance or irritation throughout their day, not gratitude. Honoring Jesus and thanking him is how we move from hollowness to wholeness.
Do some heart work today. What area of your life have you quarantined from Jesus? Are you glorifying Jesus in how you work, live with you spouse, treat your friends, and parent? Take a moment and ask God to reveal where you are not honoring him. Further, take a moment to pray for a thankful heart. Are you giving Him credit for the blessings in your life? Are you grumbling and complaining about something these days? Thank Him for who he is and what He has done for you! Finally, communicate honor and thanksgiving. Honor Jesus today by telling someone that you are thankful to God for them and why.