I had a phone call today with one of my Timothy’s, and he mentioned the struggles that come from conversations with those who approach God’s word from an intellectual perspective. It seems that they never get to the point of how Scripture applies to their lives and brings about transformation.
There are several passages that came to mind as we were talking, that speak directly to this issue. The first is Romans 12:2; “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Paul also says that “no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God…[who] we have received…the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God” (1 Corinthians 2:11-12). In short, spiritual things are not understood merely by intellectual discussion. They are taught by the Spirit (2:13; John 14:26).
The Corinthians were very intellectual people which caused Paul to write; “I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). Every conversation is either an opportunity for the Spirit to teach those in the group, or we resort to human reasoning which is cunning and deceptive.
Paul was very thankful for God’s work in the Roman believers. “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” (Romans 6:17). True obedience is from the heart with a transformed mind led by the Holy Spirit, not by the flesh (Galatians 5:18).
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