January 15, 2018

Just How Wise Are You Really?

Romans 1:21–23

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21 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. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

In Context:

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” 18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 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. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25 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. 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. 28 And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.

Just How Wise Are You Really?

Bio | Sheri Gilstrap

Hi. My name is Sheri. I hail from the Fort Worth Watermark campus, my home away from home. My husband and I live with the ferocious Mojo, our Min Pin dog. Together, we have five kids and nine grandkids that God has graciously blended together to be a family. I'm currently serving in re:generation, Watermark's discipleship recovery ministry, where God keeps showing me how to give up foolish thinking and believe in the power of trusting the Lord in all things great and small.

Central Truth

We claim to know God. But do our hearts and actions reveal that such a claim is true?

Devotional | Romans 1:21–23

There have been days when I got up and started the day with no thought of God or His significance in my life. My thinking was, "Hey, I'm good. I've got this. I don't need anybody's help!"


There have been days when I got up and started the day with no thought of God or His significance in my life. My thinking was, "Hey, I'm good. I've got this. I don't need anybody's help!"

Looking inward, I know it was my prideful heart thinking my knowledge and wisdom were far greater than that of the One who created me. Now, as I look all around me, I can see what God has done in my life. But I still try to maintain control of my life. I foolishly forget what my life would be like without my Lord.

Before I claimed Christ as my Savior, I just lived from moment to moment. I thought life was good, but I was an empty shell. God, however, desired to fill my emptiness with the goodness that only He provides, and so He called me.  

My inner self thought I was good enough and could attain the good life through my own efforts. My pride told me I deserved the good things in life. But what do I have to offer that is good? What can I give God? Nothing! My best is a mere shadow of what a life of obediently following the Lord provides.

After trusting in Jesus, my life is a new life—not a perfect life, but one where I look to Him for help, wisdom, and knowledge. I can trust the Lord in the big and small decisions of my life because He knows me and knows what direction is best for me.

Now I know that I don't need the things of the world. I only need to trust that God's grace is enough for me every day. He is good. He is faithful. He loves me, and He sent his Son, not just for me, but to show His love to all who will follow Him.

Will you come join Him and see how good your life really can be?

Hi. My name is Sheri, and I have a new life in Christ!

See Comments

Discussion Questions

1. What foolish thinking is a snare in your life? 

2. Who will you reach out to this week that doesn't know Christ so you can share the wisdom of a life changed from knowing Him?

3. If God sat with you today, what would He say about your life to illustrate your heart? What does your heart lead you to do every day?

4. Do you live to glorify Him or yourself?

34 Comments available

Michael Macomber 11 months ago

Great devo Sheri! Man this topic of control keeps coming up in my daily walk and through ReGen. I get it in my head that God is in control, but what does that exactly look like playing out in every aspect of my life? Just give me a list, or just tell me exactly what to do. I think that is why I loved working at Wal-Mart in the warehouse. Had an agenda to do, knew what was planned. Now I look back and see how that grew my tree of self reliance and works, but died of no “Water” when I never was promoted and felt unsucessful.

Linda Aland 11 months ago

How did this day get away from me! My foolish mind and heart totally forgot about the JTJ that I have so enjoyed each morning. And what a great message when it came to mind at 8 pm on Monday evening. Fortunately, God’s grace is forgiving even when I forget what I would like to do each morning.

Andi Guevara 11 months ago

At the moment I fall into the trap of comparison, motherhood. I have a toddler who is very strong-willed. My foolish thinking begins to compare myself to other moms and how their child behaves better than mine. Also I plan on inviting coworker to this weekend’s event at church for women, ReCharge. Hope my coworker accepts the invitation.

Elizabeth Lariscy 11 months ago

Thank you for sharing your testimony, Sheri! It really hit home with me. Praising God for the amazing works in your life! Praising God for you!

Elizabeth Lariscy 11 months ago

I loved your testimony Sheri! It really spoke to me. Praising God for His work in your life.

Sharhonda Conner 11 months ago

Sheri, I loved question #3. It’s easy to think we’re doing ok when we measure our efforts to our own scale of comparison around us. It’s eye opening to think about lifting our eyes up to His thoughts.

Kelly Nix 11 months ago

Sweet Sheri! It’s beautiful to see the Lord use your life-giving humility a voice for His Glory! I’m thankful to witness and be held accountable for my foolishness with you in life which we call CG! Walking away from the word unchanged (Js.1:24) is my snare most days. I pray He sees Jesus as my one desire and that He’ll use my life to bear good fruit.

Sue Bohlin 11 months ago

Thanks for your devo, Sheri. I especially love this passage because the call to give thanks to the Lord in everything, for everything, was one of the first things He taught me as a baby Christian. The two-pronged choice to 1) honor and glorify the Lord and 2) give thanks to Him creates a spiritual retaining wall that keeps us from going into a downward spiral into “hot mess territory.” These two disciplines keep Him #1 and ourselves NOT #1. :::donning “I am Second” bracelet:::

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Jesus said “Be careful lest the light in you be darkness” in Luke 11 but people in this dar done realize it

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

It works the other way too, Psalm 36:9 “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Trust in your own wisdom and the light dim, trust in God and the lights get brighter.

Michael Scaman 11 months ago

Sin affects thinking and makes God to be ‘hidden in plain sight’ We live before his face and His eyes are on us but sin dumbs us down.

Christopher Hyland 11 months ago

Good morning JTJ and thank you Sheri. Power packed verse - “for though they knew God they did not honor Him as God or give thanks.” If we don’t do that everything goesoff the rails. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Thankfully this draws my thoughts to how can I honor God today and reminds me to give Him thanks for EVERYTHING because all I have is His

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

What I wrote was incomplete and then disappeared before I was finished. I wanted to say I am thankful for your questions. I have been foolish in not following my dreams out of fear of the unknown. I love babies and I’m good with them. That’s my dream job. God has a plan and I pray a lot. I need to see I need to do to make it happen. Again thank you for ur words and for making me think about my future and God’s plan.

Georgia Littlejohn 11 months ago

I feel foolish because I settle out of fear of the unknown. I have wanted to follo a dream and not struggle financially. I am blessed for all that I have. I’m not complaining. I have been afraid of the next step. I really want to love and work with babies. I pray a lot about it. Thank you for the questions. They really make me think about following my heart and leaning more on God for His wisdom. I take care of everones needs and that needs to change. I need to continue praying and listen to the path God wants me on.

Alma Barber 11 months ago

Q1- That I am Holy Ghost Junior. And therefore, I can change the hearts of people, by sharing the goodness of the Lord. I may or may not have a very strong case of the “I can’t help it’s” when it comes to telling others ALL that God has done for me! (it’s too bad I’m only allowed 150 words here ) Q3- He would say that I so desire for others to know Him and be as passionate about Him as I am, but that I forget it’s not my job to do so. That my actions can speak louder about Him than my words. and that it’s up to Him to convict the heart of man. My heart daily leads me to extend some of the lavish grace -of which my cup runneth over with.

Autumn Zevely 11 months ago

Ooooooh, #3 is such a great question to meditate on… and humbling!

Selena Thompson 11 months ago

Hi Sheri! Thank you for the reminder this morning that I am not in control of my life; only of my actions and obedience to a gracious God. I also have days when I believe I know best or have it figured out and my dependence on God is small. Through ReGen I also learned that not trusting God comes from a place of not trusting people as a way of self protection. In those times when I fully “let go and let God” it is such a sweet place of peace and joy in seeing how much my Lord loves me. Have a great day!

Burlon Leffall III 11 months ago

Q1 There’s an ancient film called ‘Groundhog Day’ about a man re-living the same day. I forgot the ending, but sometimes that’s how I feel. That I’m just doing the same thing over and over when I go to the Word. But the truth is, I’m living the same day over and over WITHOUT the Word-FOOL THAT I AM! Falling in love with myself! Sometimes it seems, in my 1st 2 minutes of consciousness of the day, that I’m fighting gale force winds of drudgery and crawling over bales of boredom JUST to open my bible, but once I’m there, Jesus always meets me. And Iike clockwork, I think: “Why did I make that so hard?” “If it is [disagreeable] in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve…But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” Joshua 24:15

Rita Satagaj 11 months ago

Sheri, really love your question #3, very convicting. I’m reading Idols of the Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick and it is a phenomenal book. It is very enlightening. I never realized that my husband or my children/grandchildren could be my idols. Wow! I have gained so much freedom from putting God first. Psalm 24:1 “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it.”

James Rener 11 months ago

Good Morning to all, and thank you Sheri for this Devotional. May we all have a fruitful week, and remember to feed daily on His word.

Leisa Moon 11 months ago

He would say a lot of times my heart is in the right place but I need work to keep it there. Sometimes I don’t always say or do the right thing. Sometimes I may fall in and participate with negative talk. I ask the Lord each morning when I pray to stay by my side and help me be a better person. I know he is always there even when sometimes it doesn’t seem so. I’m thankful he knows I am far from perfect and knows how much he is needed.

Greg Jones 11 months ago

“Now I know that I don’t need the things of the world. I only need to trust that God’s grace is enough for me every day. He is good. He is faithful.“ A great quote describing a greater life. Thank you for the insight into your life.

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

From Boice -When human beings invent religion they either invent something that makes them self-righteous, imagining that they can save themselves by their own good works or wisdom—or they invent something that excuses their behavior so they can commit the evil they desire. In other words, they become either legalists or antinomians. The gospel produces neither. It does not produce legalists, because salvation is by the accomplishment of Christ, not the accomplishments of human beings.

andrew marsh 11 months ago

Thank you Sheri for simple yet convicting truth.

Trey Collins 11 months ago

(accidentally hit “enter” so continued"… by the grace of God. Praying for you this morning Sheri!

Trey Collins 11 months ago

Hi Sheri, great devo! I am in Regen currently myself and one of my big ones is control and how it leads to anger, apathy, and selfishness. It is wise and good to trust God with these issues and surrender to Him through confession, accountability, and renewing my heart by the grace of

Cecelia Barriere 11 months ago

Sheri, thank you for this heart-searching devo. Questions 2 and 3 were most helpful for me today.

Cecelia Barriere 11 months ago

Sheri, your devo questions are awesome. I did meet someone this weekend I can follow-up with this week(reference your Q #2). Thank you for this devo that encourages me to examine my heart and my actions.

Hope Harris 11 months ago

GM JTJ friends. @SheriGilstrap great Central Truth. John piper says that, “We can’t exchange something we do not have in our possession.” He goes on to say there is a natural order to suppressing the truth of God: “We reject, suppress, distort, and recreate God into an image of our own liking, and the effect is worse than we expect. And the thing that is worse than we expect is that God joins our crusade against God, as it were, and delivers us into the debasing effects of our own rebellion against him.” In retrospect, I can see how that order was being played out in my own life. God disrupted the process just shy of my going on a radical crusade against God. I am so very grateful for a God that was willing to reach me even though I hated Him and His people.

Ted Mattos 11 months ago

Happy Monday. all. Thanks for this devotional, Sheri. Question 3 is convicting to be certain. There are things I’d HOPE that God would say about my life, and then of course there is the truth. That my heart isn’t fully dedicated to Him. I will continue to pray that His Spirit within me will change me.

Lindsey Driscoll 11 months ago

Sheri, great questions! Q3- a great question to ponder today. If God sat with me how would he illustrate my heart? Would it be like the first part of verse 1:21 glorifying God and thanking Him; or like the second part of 1:21

Hugh Stephenson 11 months ago

Paraphrasing A.W. Tozer - “The most important thing about Hugh is what he thinks about when he thinks about God. Not what he SAYS he thinks but what he believes in his heart.” The most convicting non biblical quotation of all. Right up there with “Who do you say that I am?”. More than what my heart believes, what do my actions and speech convey? A friend says this prayer each day the minute he opens his eyes - “God, today may I know you better so that I can love you more.” Pre 2014, today’s verse applied to me. Since then, I am driven each day to know more of the goodness and kindness of God. As I do, I see His promises being fulfilled in my life. I have “miles to go before I sleep” and I plan to spend it knowing more and more of Him

Amy Merritt 11 months ago

Wisdom came through heart change and a relationship with the Word for me. I didn’t want to just know about God but I wanted to know God. Taking in the word, reading, singing, meditating, praying-asking for wisdom and seeing the character of God through his Word. I began to believe it as He surrounded me in life, all these things increased my understanding of God and my love for Him was deepening. John tells us that the word was God and became flesh and dwelt among us. John 1:9 says, “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world.” When I started to see the hope shining through my cracks my heart changed. The same cracks I thought were my weakness, were now exactly where Jesus was meeting me and showing me what love and grace looked like.

Julie Newmeyer 11 months ago

An excerpt from Dr. Constable’s commentary: “This tragic process of human ‘god-making’ continues apace in our own day, and Paul’s words have as much relevance for people who have made money or sex or fame their gods as for those who carved idols out of wood and stone.”

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