Joshua 24:15 - choose this day whom you will serve

Deconstruction is like a train station. People arrive through many different means and take trains to very different places.

But, generally speaking, deconstruction is not a badge of honor the way the bible seems to tell the story.

How is it that our lives unravel to the point of deconstruction? What are the fundamental, underlying mechanisms that hound us?

The First Simple Choice

From the beginning, God made things very simple for us humans, likely knowing how frail we are. We only had one rule:

Genesis 1:16b-17 - You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…

Just one rule. And we couldn’t manage it.

Our New Simple Choice

Even to this very day, Paul says we essentially have one simple choice before us:

Romans 1:21a - they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him

That’s a pretty low bar. And we so often can’t manage it - sometimes for years on end.

If we do make some effort, it’s fairly minimal.

Consider we have 10,080 minutes in a week. We go to church for 80 minutes or so. What happens to the other 10,000 minutes? Where do those go? And what kind of person does that turn us into?

Our New Disaster

Adam and Eve saw their lives collapse and paradise lost. For us, Paul tells mostly the same story - that because people don’t honor God or give thanks to him:

Romans 1:21b-22 - they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools…

Doesn’t that sound familiar? Doesn’t that sound like deconstruction?

Deconstruction’s Voice

Deconstruction is a voice, saying:

Genesis 3:1 - “Did God actually say…?”

Deconstruction assaults all ideas of honoring and knowing God.

Deconstruction says, “Church is for dummies. First of all, the people there are idiots and not cool at all. Second, almost all of them are hypocrites. Third, the music ispretty awful. Fourth, there’s a lot of fakeness. Fifth, the way people talk about the bible is so glib and meaningless. There’s no power in that place. And there’s no power in any church. Because Christianity is all made up.”

Deconstruction says, “The bible is for suckers. First of all, it’s written by men. Second, they randomly picked which books would be in it. Third, no one could know all the history and verbatim dialogue. The bible is an invention and it’s dry and stale and confusing with all its jargon because it means nothing.”

Deconstruction says, “Prayer is stupid. First of all, God doesn’t exist. Second, even if he did, he doesn’t care about you. Third, you’ve got better things to do than to spend time in prayer.”

Sit up and notice that we don’t hear the force and utter disdain of this voice about many other things in life. No voice is saying, “Don’t go to the grocery store - only losers do that! Don’t read the newspaper - only old people do that! Don’t listen to the Headspace meditation app - you can get better returns on your time somewhere else!”

Because we have an enemy! And he’s playing the same game he’s played from the beginning.

The Path to Deconstruction

According to Paul (and every teaching of his seems to be rooted in Old Testament knowledge - not his personal opinion), we end up being harrassed in this way simply because we’ve closed one door and opened another.

By neglect, we stop honoring and thanking God. By pursuit, we choose the patterns of the world. Consider this diagram from three of Paul’s verses in Romans 1. Focus your attention on the purple box and follow the downward flow of Paul’s logic to the diagram.

Romans 1:21-23 - For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.

Click image for larger view.


We often lament, “I should pray and read the bible more and be involved at church.” But we often say it in the same exact way we’d say, “I should clean the car windows… I should get some exercise.” We don’t sense anything particularly serious about it. It’s maybe the most serious, fundamental thing in life.

We watch horror movies furious that the characters walk themselves into the most dangerous situations possible, yelling at them, “YOU IDIOTS!!!! YOU’RE SO CLUELESS!” But we, ourselves, run straight into the arms of disaster the exact same way through our omission of honoring and thanking God in the simple acts of seeking him from our hearts (that is, not merely the form and practice of spiritual disciplines but the heartfelt craving of desperation that drives us to look for him anywhere we can as often as we can).

The True Romans Road

The simple breakdown is this:

  1. Don’t honor or thank God which leads to
  2. Our thinking becomes futile (1:21b) which produces (like an awful crop of weeds)
  3. Deconstruction, poor decision-making, and utter confusion about life

And this is likely why Paul later teaches in Romans:

Romans 12:1-2 - I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Do we see this? We’ve fallen deep into a pit! Paul wants us to go back UP the ladder!

Fall – Read Top-Down (Diagram, Romans 1) Restoration – Read Bottom-Up (Romans 12)
Don’t honor/thank God (1:21) Present your bodies as sacrifices (12:1)
Pursue ways of the world Do not conform to the patterns of the world (12:2a)
Thinking becomes futile Renew your mind (12:2b)
Deconstruction, poor decision-making, utter confusion REPENT! Turn around! (12:1, John the Baptist)

The “patterns of the world” are surely simple - it’s being busy, love of money, love of being “cool”, love of all the world’s other ways, love of idols and other non-God things.

These ideas from John and James now come into focus much more clearly:

James 4:4-5 - You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us?

1 John 2:15-17 - Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.


The Gray Havens - It’s Possible
It’s possible I didn’t see it in the right light
‘Cause when I stopped and stared, I didn’t see the magic
From my first time there, I admit it was a tragedy, I know
It’s possible to see the city from the wrong side

Open the Door

Sin keeps us from God. Paul’s argument is that the most foundational sin is ignoring God. It’s the exact thing Adam and Eve did in the Garden.

Our recovery point - the step that launches a journey home - is so simple - it’s four words: honor and thank God. If we’ve previously closed the door to him, we only need a simple act to return:

Matthew 7:7 - knock and the door will be opened to you.

Revelation 3:7d - What he opens no one can shut

Open your bible today, because:

Hebrews 2:1 - we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it.

Stop and pray right now. Find your favorite song about/to God and sing it to him. Listen to the Lectio 365 app every morning and night. Get to church this weekend if you haven’t been in a long time. If you’re going to church, go further in. Honor God! Thank God! Oh, frail heart, hear his call today and obey his invitations to stop and sit with him. Oh, mind, follow The Way with whatever little understanding you have until he multiplies your minimal bread and little fish:

Joshua 24:15 - choose this day whom you will serve

Psalm 46:10 - Be still, and know that I am God.

Luke 10:38b-42 - And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

Choose the ONE THING, oh my soul! Only one thing is necessary - honor him, thank him, be with him the best way you can as much as you can with the fullest love you now have. Oh, Lord, restore us!