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December 27, 2013

Joy Lady: We shouldn’t play the exchange game with God

TERRE HAUTE — The packages have been opened and the wrappings discarded. The toys have been played with. The electronics have had their batteries charged and their software downloaded. The cookies and candy have been passed around and eaten. The leftovers have been forgotten in the back of the refrigerator. That’s because Christmas is … well, it’s ummm … it’s over.

Now it’s the season for The Great Gift Exchange.

You know how that works, right? On Christmas morning, you open that sweater from your grandmother that’s so unattractive you know even moths will have nothing to do with it. Or maybe it’s that vase or statue or bookend or something or other from your cousin that is so ugly you don’t know quite what it is or how to use it. Or maybe your gift is the wrong size, or the wrong color, or just wrong for you. Whatever the reason, you know that at your earliest opportunity, you will run to the nearest store and exchange it for something you like better.

Truth be told, we’ve all been a participant of The Great Gift Exchange. We just can’t help exchanging something we don’t like much for something we like much better.

Reminds me of what Paul was talking about in the first chapter of Romans. While talking about how upset God gets with us when we don’t “get it” where He is concerned. He showed us his divine nature and His eternal power in all creation. So, we have no excuse for not recognizing Him and worshiping Him. Paul goes on to warn us, in Romans 1:25, not to be like those who “exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator — who is forever praised.”

You know how that works, right? We don’t like certain things about God or the things God has told us. So we exchange what God has said for things He never said.

We justify our fleshly desires by saying that God never intended for us to be unhappy. Therefore, we say it’s OK to commit adultery, or cheat on our taxes, or chose to live an un-Biblical lifestyle, as long as we are happy. But God never tells us He wants us to be happy, even though Psalm 145:19 tells us, “He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; He hears their cry and saves them.” Psalm 37:54 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” It’s our fear and delight in God that gives us happiness.

We say we don’t all have to believe the same thing as long as we believe something. We say we can worship whomever or whatever we want, as long as we worship something. We say we should accept the beliefs of others as long as we don’t express our belief in Jesus Christ.

In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

And that’s a no-exchange policy.

Verna Davis, speaker and writer, may be reached at vrdspeaks@yahoo.com.

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