In Romans 1 - 11 Paul gives us the basic framework on which a Christian understanding of sin, salvation, and sanctification is based. It was the most thorough and systematic presentation of Christian truth up to that time and many would say since that time as well.
Beginning in chapter 12, Paul turns his attention to the implications of the truth he has just presented. In other words, in light of what God has done, this is the way we should live.
Verse 12:1 is one of the most important verses is the Bible. "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship." This verse contains, perhaps, more key theological truths for its size than any other. God wants us to offer ourselves as living sacrifices which means to put aside our own desires so we can follow Him. As gratitude that our sins have been forgiven, we should put our whole heart and mind into accomplishing His will and forego our own.
In verses 4 - 8, Paul tells us about the means, or gifts, God has given each of us to accomplish His will. To use these gifts effectively we must:
+ realize that all abilities come from God
+ understand that not everyone has the same gifts
+ know what we do best (i.e., what gifts we have been given)
+ dedicate our gifts to God's service
+ be willing to use our gifts to their utmost - not hold anything back from God's service
Finally, and this is a lesson I again was taught this week, all of us must realize, especially me, that our gifts cannot do the work of the church alone. Everyone's gifts are needed. We should praise God for people with gifts that are completely different from our own and be grateful that the abilities of others can make up for our deficiencies.
Wishing you much success in your walk with Christ,