What Happens When We Fail to Worship God?

Worship—or the failure to do it properly—affects every aspect of our lives. Romans 1:20–25 points out four steps that lead to spiritual deterioration:

  • Failing to glorify God
  • Failing to give thanks
  • Turning to other gods
  • Degenerate living

Failing to glorify God

“Although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God” (Romans 1:21a).

This is the basic expression of the root sin of pride, which is at the core of man’s fallen state. While this may not seem like a serious sin to you, it is to God. When there is a breakdown here, other problems follow.

It was a failure to glorify God that resulted in idolatry and immoral living for King Belshazzar. The prophet Daniel came to him with this reproof:

“And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of Heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified” (Daniel 5:23).

Scripture continually encourages believers to glorify God. Psalm 29:1–2 (NIV) says, “Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due His name.” Glorifying God with our lives is not something we should take lightly.

Failing to give thanks

“Nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened” (Romans 1:21b).

This step down inevitably follows the first step, for if you do not glorify God as God, you will not give thanks to Him. Many Christian homes have neglected to give thanks at mealtime, thinking of it as unnecessary. But what a wonderful habit and example it can be for your children. Daniel the prophet made a regular habit of giving thanks to God, even after he learned that it could result in his arrest and execution (see Daniel 6:10). Our gratitude toward God should be no less.

Turning to other gods

“Professing to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things” (Romans 1:22–23).

When God is removed from your life, something or someone must take His place. People will often turn to other belief systems to seek to appease a guilt-ridden conscience. They want a religion or belief that will rationalize their lifestyle, which at this point is usually becoming increasingly sinful.

Many cling to the teachings of New Age types of religions, because they basically accommodate their lifestyle. Others embrace evolution, because if God did not create the earth, then they are not accountable to Him. But the biblical account of creation and the theory of evolution are not compatible. All those who direct their innate desire to worship toward something or someone other than the Creator Himself will ultimately be disappointed.

Degenerate living

“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them” (Romans 1:28–32).

Failing to glorify God and give thanks not only leads to idolatry, but to degenerate living. It begins with unthankfulness and indifference and results in the lowering of our standards. This radical downward trend begins in the realm of our thinking. So you can really trace our problems in our personal lives, society, and our country to a failure to worship the true God.

We have pushed God out of the classroom and the courtroom. We have pushed aside His standards that He has given as protection and have rewritten our own history. Now our country is reaping the inevitable results: the family is under increasing attack, we have a failing education system, rampant violent crime fills our streets, and sexual perversion is being flaunted and pushed upon us. Such is the peril of failing to worship God.


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