January 17, 2018

Meaningful Choices and Downstream Consequences

Romans 1:26–27

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26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women...

26 For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27 and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.

Meaningful Choices and Downstream Consequences



Central Truth

We are all in this world together, and all fall short of God’s standard (Romans 3:23). How do we lovingly speak truth, establish appropriate boundaries, and build relationships with people in sin struggles the world is glorifying? Hint: look inside. Watermark’s The Prodigal ministry is a great place to learn.

Devotional | Romans 1:26–27

Paul conveys God’s truth in these two verses about one of today’s burning “lifestyle” issues. Looking at this truth together may allow acceptance of the role we play—taking comfort...

Paul conveys God’s truth in these two verses about one of today’s burning “lifestyle” issues. Looking at this truth together may allow acceptance of the role we play—taking comfort knowing “there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9b), comfort that God’s game plan is written, and comfort that we have meaningful choices to live it out—or not.

My heart is convicted that my individual choice(s) impact the world. I believe Paul tells us this in today’s passage. The role I played for 25 years was filled with agit(ation), intoxic(ation), fornic(ation), and idoliz(ation) rooted in false beliefs that God didn't love me, His written game plan shouldn't inform every life decision, and my personal choices didn't impact the whole world. Working to impact political systems in this n(ation) provided distractions necessary to keep me from seeking wisdom dispelling my false beliefs about God.

I see clearly what Paul tells us. I am part and parcel of this passage. I didn't live a Christ-centered life, lead my family biblically, or diligently share truth and wisdom with my worldly community. I am part of “For this reason” in Romans 1:26.

God loves us so much He chose to provide His reasons. He provided them directly twice, by Jesus 18 times, twice through Luke, 23 times through Paul, once through Peter, and three times through John. Generally, peoples’ actions give rise to an outcome (cause and effect). He loves us enough to not interfere; He will give us over to our desires.

Should I begin to look down my nose at hurting people suffering through a same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion season, I pray I encounter the circle I have drawn around myself and immediately look inside to remind myself of the role I played in “For this reason God gave them up to . . . ."  “And He was saying, 'That which proceeds out of the man, that is what defiles the man. For from within . . . .” (Mark 7:20-21, NASB). Do my lips proclaim: God is good, He loves me, and He desires me to be reconciled to Him? 

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Bio | Ronnie Oldfield

Good morning, fellow Journeyers. I am/have been a son; newspaper boy; tobacco, hay, and tomato field hand; office clerk; convenience store manager; oil drilling rig floor hand; university accounting instructor; certified public accountant; political activist; financial administrator; business owner; elected official; husband; father; single parent; disciple of Christ; light shiner and meal provider to at-risk school students; and servant to adults seeking foundational assistance while pursuing a new way of living. These vocations are part of my preparation to write this entry. Please spot the other contributing “-ations” in the Devotional section.

Discussion Questions

1. When we encounter individuals suffering through a season of same-sex attraction or gender identity confusion, is it important to examine our individual role in Psalm 81:11-12: “So I gave them over to . . . .”?

2. Looking inside, do you see an “-ation” you laid at the feet of Christ so that you might overcome it? Do you believe your story of grace might comfort and encourage someone who has been given over to the sin struggles highlighted today?

3. Inventory all the struggles God has helped you overcome. Even in your darkest times, do you see now that you were always crafted in God’s image and He was always available to rescue you?(Colossians 1:15)

4. Finding your hope in Jesus during these dark times may have come about as you realized God is firm to judge us for our sins. Did you have someone lovingly walk with you during this time of realization? Have you thanked them lately?

5. Entering into God’s grace by trusting in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus washes all our darkness away. Are you preparing yourself to share this truth with someone near to you? Are you building a relationship that might make this conversation possible? (1 Corinthians 6:9-11)

4 Comments available

Hope Harris about 3 hours ago

Heads–up JTJ peeps, two-part response: Almost nine years after coming to Christ, it’s hard for me to see my same-sex attractions(SSA) as a “lifestyle” or a “season”; by season I’m assuming the use to imply, something temporary that will pass. I found myself attracted to other girls and women at 11. Was it an intentional lifestyle choice then, or passing phase I would get over? 47 years later I’m still attracted to women. As I grow into a fully devoted follower of Christ; I surrender my attractions and desires to God; acknowledging they are not God’s best for my life. As a child, my perspective of sexuality was impacted; by two adults who were sexually and relationally dysfunctional. Influencing my need as an adult to be accepted, affirmed and gain the attention and affection of other women. Legitimate needs being met in illegitimate ways.

Hope Harris about 3 hours ago

PT.2 – As a result, in my 20’s I went all in as a lesbian. John Piper helps me understand this passage. “Failed worship is our worst disorder. This is beneath all the maladies of the world.” Simply put sin impacts our lives from birth to the grave. Disordering all of our lives, impacting our ability to relate to God and others, He intended us to. #What if my (SSA) never goes away in this life? Does it give me permission to continue to indulge in relationships with other women? Answers: It may not and no it does not. How should I then live? Pick up my cross, deny myself and honor God through a holy sexuality. By living my story of grace out–loud in a redemptive manner that draws others to my Savior.

Amy Merritt about 6 hours ago

Thank you for this great devo Ronnie. I loved what you said, “Generally, peoples’ actions give rise to an outcome (cause and effect). He loves us enough to not interfere; He will give us over to our desires.” Our flesh will always lead to death and destruction, but Moses says in Deuteronomy, “Now choose life! and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord you God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him.” This is where life really is. A relationship with God, seeing Him righteous.

John Hill 2 days ago

Hello Ronnie, Yes, I have been reading ahead. Nice job with the devotional. My take away, if we are not part of the solution (sharing Christ with others) we are part of the problem. This year, I want to make it my goal, to be a bigger part of the solution! And thank you for your service to the body of Watermark.

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