Worship the Creator not his creation!

This passage from Paul’s letter to the Romans has been swimming around in my head during our trip to Denmark, Iceland and Greenland. Especially while being in my beloved native country Denmark and during our time in Iceland did I think of the tragedy of the way the majority of people choose to live. I write this blog entry with a heavy heart well-knowing that many people could read this, misunderstand it as me judging other people or putting myself up on some kind of pedestal, while nothing could be farther from the truth. I would be living my life completely the way that I describe in the following lines if it wasn’t for Jesus being at work in me and causing me to walk in his ways which bring life and not my ways or the ways of the world which bring death to me. I am well aware that I am as capable of falling into the depravity and destruction that so many people are in as anybody else. I just pray and trust that Jesus will always be there to lift me up when I fall. And I thank him that it’s with him as the hope for me, individuals and all the nations that I write these words that are on my heart!

“The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. 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. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles. Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised. Amen. Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. Furthermore, since they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, he gave them over to a depraved mind, to do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them

(Romans 1:18-32)

Unfortunately this passage written about 2000 years ago describing what was going on in the city of Rome in Italy is directly applicable to what’s going on in the world in 2009. All over the world people are worshiping the created instead of the Creator. All over the world arrogance and pride is the name of the game and not humility, love and surrender to God who is love. But these weeks these verses describe very well what I saw going on in my home country, Denmark and on the beautiful little island of Iceland just south east of Greenland. Denmark is a nation of great Christian heritage. We have had the Gospel of Jesus Christ available to our nation since around the year 700, and especially since the second Danish king, Harald Bluetooth, got baptized and decided that Christianity should be the official religion of Denmark in 950, the Gospel has been freely preached everywhere in the little Scandinavian kingdom. But today more than 1000 years later the Danes have largely forgotten about the God of the Universe! As a nation we have became proud and cold and have decided that everything concerning faith, and relationship with a God we cannot see with our human eyes is ridiculous and for a majority of modern day Danes Christianity is about as relevant for their everyday life as Greek and Roman gods of olden days. Today Christianity is still the official religion of Denmark, but it’s a watered-down version with as much resemblance to the real deal as the brown water of Coke Zero is compared to real Coca-Cola…

I always grieve when I’m in Denmark. “They did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God“, Paul wrote. And that’s true for most of the Danes. They may consider themselves to be the happiest nation on planet earth. But it’s a happiness built around self-sufficiency, selfishness, arrogance and pride. Most Danes feel so embraced by the well-functioning welfare system of Denmark that they have decided that they simply don’t need God anymore. They may do some religious activities now and then (baptism, marriage in a church, confirmation, go to church on holidays, etc.), and 81% of all Danes are still members of the Danish Lutheran State Church, but there is very little spiritual life in the little kingdom. Many Danish Christians (but certainly not all! I am blessed to know a good number of on-fire believers who are still believing in and praying forth great breakthroughs of God’s kingdom in Denmark!!) are also caught in the postmodern cycle of self-sufficiency, cynicism and pride and many of these are simply not believing that God will become important in Denmark again. God has blessed the nation of Denmark so it’s one of the richest nations in the world, but as a nation we are not in a place of worshiping God for his good gifts. Instead we have largely decided to ignore him and everything he is.

Please understand that I write all these things with a heavy heart. I don’t mean to judge anybody. That is – thank God – not my job, but I know that there are terrible consequences for the godless way so many people that I encounter live. I’m grieved by the state of my home country, and I pray and believe that God is doing a new thing even in Denmark. He is setting more and more hearts on fire for him, and God’s kingdom shall not be defeated in Denmark either, but I want to be honest about where this nation is at, so I – and maybe you, dear reader – know how to pray for Denmark.

The contrast between the natural and worshipful beauty of Greenland and the sadness I felt while being in Reykjavik, Iceland where they were celebrating a gay pride weekend was very tangible. As Paul puts it: “they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them“. I am not by any means saying that lived-out homosexuality is a worse sin than any other, but I am saying that the very fact that sin, and lived-out homosexuality is a sin that’s destroying our nations, was being celebrated and encouraged in the streets of the beautiful city of Reykjavik and that little children were handed gay pride flags to wave with was tragic to observe. It grieved me deeply and caused me once again to pray to God for life to spring forth in Iceland. Though surrounded by so many examples of God’s unbelievably beautiful and creative creation, Icelandic people are also incredibly proud people and the truths of God are very hard to proclaim on the little island.

I pray for Denmark, Iceland and the rest of the nations of the world. I pray for a revival where we walk away from the lie that Satan has tricked us into believing. The lie that says that we humans are the center of everything and that we don’t need salvation and life in Jesus Christ. Adam and Eve bought into the lie from Satan in the Garden of Eden, and ever since we have chosen to walk our own ways and not surrender to God’s love for us. I pray that the kingdom of God will break through in new and powerful ways in Denmark and in Iceland. I pray that there will be a day soon where thousands of believers will be filling the streets of Copenhagen and Reykjavik parading through the cities singing worship songs to God and testifying about the freedom, life, love and passion without any hangovers that Jesus has given to them! I pray that more and more people will come to Jesus and be healed of their shame and guilt and may experience the free and easy life that Jesus, as the only one in this entire world is capable of offering.

Blessings, Torben

5 Responses to “Worship the Creator not his creation!”

  1. August 17, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    Wherever there’s darkness, it’s evident that there’s no light. Let Christians in Denmark, no matter how infinitesimal their number, begin to lift Jesus up with their lives and the darkness you described will fizzle out. The early church that turned the known world upside down started with just 120 members!

  2. August 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm

    Hey Emmanuel! Thanks for your comment! And I absolutely agree with what you’re writing. Thanks for the encouragement. Torben

  3. 3 vwoolgar
    January 3, 2010 at 8:31 am

    I pray that revival breaks out strong in every country, every nation, and that sparks and fires are alight even now, that the darkness has to flee.
    That spiritually blind eyes will be opened to the beauty and glory of the reality of the Lord Jesus Himself and the Holy Spirit reign down, touching many . That the enemy will be exposed and discarded
    Let the church wake up, as the Hour approaches.

  4. January 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    Hey Vwoof! Great prayer! Thanks for sharing! Torben

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