The human heart hates a vacuum. We never merely leave God because we value him little; we always exchange God for what we value more. We see this in verses 22-23: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images.” They became fools. This is the ultimate foolishness.
This is the most foundational meaning of sin: exchanging the glory of the immortal God for substitutes—anything we value more than God. If you have ears to hear, this should sound like the ultimate stupidity and the ultimate outrage—that we consider God, reject him as our supreme treasure, and trade him away. We look at the Creator and then exchange him for something he created.
Underneath all the misuses of money, sex, and power is this sinful heart-condition—this depravity. My definition of sin, based on this passage in Romans 1, is this: sin is any feeling or thought or action that comes from a heart that does not treasure God over all other things. The bottom of sin, the root of all sins, is such a heart—a heart that prefers anything above God; a heart that does not treasure God over everything else, and everyone else.
Money, sex and power are ways of displaying God’s supreme worth in your life, or they are ways of displaying what you think is the supreme worth of something else. The way you think and feel and act about money, sex, and power puts your heart’s treasure on display—either God, or something he made.
Therefore power, money and sex are all God-given means of showing what you value. They are given by God as means of worship. All your power, all your money and all your sexuality are God’s gifts for putting on display the supreme worth of God’s glory.