22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and exist, as even some of your own poets have said, ‘For we also are His children.’ 29 Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and thought of man. 30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, 31 because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”
32 Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer, but others said, “We shall hear you again concerning this.” 33 So Paul went out of their midst. 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Examine / Explain
Paul was in Athens preaching the gospel and, being situationally aware, noted that the Athenians prayed to an unknown god. Understanding the culture he was in, he knew that this was a doorway to present who this unknown god was. The unknown god was God. He could not be made visible by human hands. He is the one who gives us life and breath as mere human idols are made in attempts to bring Him close. But He is close. We can find Him. Not through natural means but by seeking His face and repenting of sins against Him. And the proof of who God claims to be is the demonstration of power to raise Jesus from the dead. Some believed, and others didn’t.
How do I apply this to my life?
Where do I put God in a box? How can I be as wise as Paul and understand the culture I am living in to present the gospel? Where are my idols that I turn to instead of God? What am I not repenting of? Where is my human nature showing and in control? I know we are to be in the world and not of it, but what do I do when the world I live in is something I can’t handle? We live in a culture with a huge bend toward sexual immorality. I have to guard my heart and eyes because I have a weakness that would allow me to worship what the world worships. Sex. I have had these idols in my life before. Through the power of God, these idols have been cast down, but I know I am a weak human. I should be able to overcome through the power that lives inside of me. And I do. That is how I have the strength to avoid such things. I know there are movies, TV shows, and other things I cannot look at because of the draw they would have on me. How do I reach the world living in an area that I can’t go back into? Is the podcast enough? Is sharing my struggles through journals reaching far enough to stir the soul of a man wrapped up in something where he feels there is no escaping? We must repent of our sins against God. We must stop worshiping idols crafted from human hands. We take our eyes off the creation and lock them on the creator. He is omnipresent and close enough that we can reach Him. We have to take that “step” toward Him. Surrender. Romans 10:9, confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. A life of submission to the creator of the universe is far better than a life of submission to an idol of our own doing. We will never find what we need or are looking for in our strength and the idols we create. Only through God can we find peace, grace, and salvation.
What is my response?
Father, I repent. Forgive me for the idols I place higher than You in my life. I know they are there. I lay them down at your feet. I pray that I don’t pick them up again. I want to look forward to the day of Your return. If I fear what I will be missing on this earth, my perspectives are off. If I care more about what I will miss out on than standing in Your presence, I’m getting it wrong. If Jesus is not the answer to the questions I deal with, my heart is of this world. Does this mean I will live perfectly and never mess up ever again? Absolutely not! It does mean that grace applied brings me back to You, and I have the opportunity to try again. And again. And again. Thank You, Lord, for loving me. Thank You for taking my place on the cross. Thank You for the undeserving million chances you give me in this life. Amen