ODJ: genuine life

January 9, 2016 

READ: Romans 8:1-11 

Just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you (v.11).

During a conversation with friends, several in the circle took turns recounting their early experiences with certain words in the Christian vocabulary. One person said, “Whenever I heard the word life mentioned by a Christian or in the Bible, I always thought it was only talking about heaven. I never thought it had much to do with me right now.” Most everyone nodded in agreement. “Yeah, it was difficult to know what there really was to be excited about,” another confessed. “I imagined playing harps somewhere in the clouds, and I felt guilty when the whole idea just didn’t excite me too much.”

While these descriptions of heaven have little to do with what Scripture actually reveals, it’s true that we often carry a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Bible means when it speaks of the life God brings. Paul describes the Holy Spirit as “the life-giving Spirit” and assures us that this Spirit of life “has freed [us] from the power of sin that leads to death” (Romans 8:2). At the very core, we discover that in Jesus we find freedom and life—the cure to the wreck and ruin that surrounds us.

Further, to “set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace,” Paul tells us (v.6 rsv). When we yield ourselves to God, setting our affections on Him and His truth as God’s Spirit reveals it to us, then we’ll find ourselves experiencing true life—life full of wholeness and well-being.

This true, genuine life isn’t only for the future, but for now. When we embrace God (or better, when we open up to God embracing us), we find ourselves stepping further into what it means to be truly human and truly alive. We find the genuine life that only Jesus provides.

—Winn Collier

365-day-plan: Genesis 12:1-9; 17:1-8

Read through Romans 8:1-11 again. Mark each time the word life appears. What does this tell you about your own existence and what it means to truly live? 
When are you most aware of the wreck and ruin of life? How does Jesus’ call to genuine life speak against these places of death?