Romans 1 can feel dark. What starts us one downward path sometimes gets us lost in Romans 1 when the Apostle Paul announces all the bad impulses that come upon people. It is a sad path. Lets avoid the downward path.
But all the ugly things Paul notes have one surprising cause.
He first says:
18 The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
He then says:
For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him.
Loss of thankfulness is the first step on a long downward plunge. When my great grandfather lost his thankfulness when his wife died so unexpectedly. Futility then pursued him.
I think I would complain if God took my wife. However, things to thank and be thankful for always exist far above any loss we feel on this earth. We desperately need to see clearly that God loves us especially at the bottom. He is greater and more than our losses. He was certainly there for my poor great grandfather. However, he lost thankfulness and then sorrow for all his family down to my earthly father followed.
Lets Avoid a Downward Path By Looking Up
Thankfulness, we should not make up or pretend faithfulness. God knows our faking. He would rather have us complain. The truth is we always have reasons for thankfulness.
Let us let thankfulness permeate our lives.
In Lord of the Rings, we see Frodo struggling to see the Shire when things get dark upon him. We need to seek God in song or Bible or deep fellowship and witnessing to break through to a thankful heart. It is critical to our wholeness and life.
Let us not start that downward path, and let us not judge people farther down that dark path. Let us reach them in love till the spirit teaches them thankfulness.
When our heart sees truth and thankfulness wells up within us, we have found that great upward path. Let is seek and live in it ourselves that we may shine for Him.