The circumstances are getting better for some, while others are not so lucky.
I encourage everyone to keep praising God in good times and bad. Good things happen when we praise and worship God, and we should live a lifestyle of worship even when life is hard.
21 For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile, and their foolish hearts were darkened.
My takeaway from the verse
If we do not praise and thank God, our:
Minds will be futile
This means that your focus will be on things that will not help you progress.
Hearts will be darkened
This means you will lose the touch of humanity. You lose empathy and human connection.
How do we know when we have idle minds and darkened hearts?
New International Version
17 So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking.
18 They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
19 Having lost all sensitivity, they have given themselves over to sensuality so as to indulge in every kind of impurity, and they are full of greed.
Based on the verses above, we will experience the following if we have futile minds and darkened hearts:
1. Lost Sensitivity
When your sensitivity vanishes, you lose the ability to connect to human experience and emotions. People's success and sufferings do not mean anything to you.
You do not function normally in social settings. It is almost like being a sociopath, and human conditions do not make sense to you anymore.
There is a risk of burning bridges and making enemies if you go down this path.
2. Slaves to Sensuality
Sensuality is seeking physical pleasure, explicitly sexual activities.
If you do not control your sexual urges, this could cause problems such as getting STDs and psychological issues that affect relationships.
Sensuality could also mean other physical indulges such as overeating, laziness, etc.
3. Full of Greed
Greed can manifest in extreme desire for wealth, power, and food.
People lose morals in the pursuit of power and wealth. Some even resort to violence.
Greed for food can cause health issues that will affect us significantly when we get old.
4. Indulging in Impurity
Lavishing in immoral activities means you take pleasure in doing what is wrong in the eyes of God. You are thrilled when you break the rules, even the ones that are intended to protect you.
Indulging in impurity could cause problems for you and your loved ones. People who care for you are hurting because you choose to make a mess of things.
We need to praise and thank God for His goodness all the time so we can avoid having idle minds and darkened hearts.
What else can we do to protect our minds and hearts?
New International Version
20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus.
22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
25 Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to your neighbour, for we are all members of one body.
26 "In your anger do not sin" Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.
28 Anyone who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with their own hands, that they may have something to share with those in need.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
Here are the things that we can do to avoid having futile minds and darkened hearts:
1. Be Mature
Do not give in to your urges. Not because you are feeling lazy, you do not go to work. Be mature enough to deny your desires and do what is best for you and the people you love.
2. Do Not Lie
Lying never solved anything. The truth will always come out, and people will know that you lied one way or another.
Lying also causes a life of guilt. Self-reproach will affect your attitude and relationships with people. One lie and all the truths you have spoken are tarnished. Do not lie.
3. Do Not Steal
Getting stuff will not make you happy. It will just create a desire for more things, and you will never be satisfied.
You will be caught as well. All our deeds will be exposed, and our punishment will come at the right time.
Stealing is stealing even with the simple things. Could be abuse of return policies, small items that you take from hotels, etc.
4. Do Not Gossip
Do not engage in meaningless talks. It hurts your credibility. Soon the people you gossip to will gossip about you. And the people you talk about will question your integrity.
5. Do Not Grieve the Holy Spirit
Life is challenging, and our best help is the Holy Spirit.
He feels sorrow when we do things that will hurt us because it prevents us from fulfilling God's will. Let us focus on accomplishing the mission God gave us.
6. Get Rid of Negativity
Negative talk and thinking will make you unsuccessful. Success starts with your mindset, and if you go through life thinking about the things you cannot do, then you will end up not doing anything.
7. Be Kind
A pleasant environment will make everyone thrive. If you can promote a culture of positivity at home, work, and social sphere, you will help everyone become the better version of themselves.
8. Be Compassionate
Love in action, that's compassion. Putting yourself in others' shoes is the best way to understand any circumstance.
Compassion will allow you to have more understanding and patience. It can motivate you to help and provide for others.
Being compassionate can also make you emotionally and spiritually healthy. You will not hold on to grudges or be easily angered if you have compassion.
Let Us Sum It Up
Life is like a roller coaster. You will have ups and downs. We should learn how to praise God during good and bad times.
If we do not have a lifestyle of praise and worship, we will end up with futile minds and darkened hearts.
Seek Jesus always, and we will live life in abundance on earth and heaven.
Prayer of Salvation
Friend, if you want to know Jesus, but you are unsure of your standing in faith, say this prayer. God sees your heart, so say the words with conviction and faith.
"Father, I am a sinner. Forgive my sins. I believe that Jesus died on the cross so I could live fully on earth and in heaven. Change my heart and mind according to your will. This I pray, in the mighty Name of Jesus, amen."
Friend, if you prayed this prayer in faith, I believe you have set things right with God.
If you want to grow in faith, find a Bible-based church. You can also reach out to me through my social media platforms and this website, www.high3r.com. I would love to hear from you.
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