Walking in Faith by the Power of the Spirit
TNIV Scripture for Monday, July 7, 2008 [Romans 12:1-2]
Therefore, 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 true worship. 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.
Whenever you read the word "therefore" in the Bible, you need to consider all that was said prior to the "therefore" before you can understand that passage. Context is key in the interpretation of any verse or passage in the Word. Since there are 11 chapters before the above passage, there was a lot that Paul, the writer of Romans, had to say to introduce Romans 12:1-2. Here is a summary Romans to help you get a quick grasp of the context.
Romans 1:1-17 - Greetings and introduction of the subject (the gospel and the righteous shall live by faith)
Romans 1:18-3:31 - We have a problem called sin that keeps us from God.
Romans 4-6 - The sin problem is removed by your faith in Jesus alone (not faith plus law).
Romans 7-9 - You can live by faith only through the Spirit of God.
Romans 10 - 11 - God is not done with Israel.
Romans 12-15 - Instructions about what walking by faith looks like
Romans 16 - Closing
It is easy for Christians to gloss over the first 11 chapters and focus entirely upon the instructions in chapters 12-15. After all, the purpose of your Christian life is to live properly and to be a witness in this dark world. However, what chapters 1-11 explain is that it is impossible for you to live right apart from your reliance upon the Spirit of God. According to Paul, you can't even figure out what to do at any point of your life without admitting that you can't live right before God and asking God to fill you and guide you with His Spirit. Then, as you fill and spill God's Spirit, you will begin to live according to God's standard in Romans 12-15. The Christian life is easy when you fill and spill! It is desperately miserable when you try to obey in your own strength. May you grow in your reliance on God and His Spirit today.