Do You Take it Literally?
“God's greatness flow around our incompleteness; Round our restlessness, his rest.” —Elizabeth Barrett Browning
The little phrase “born again” became really popular in the seventies. Jimmy Carter was our President, and he said, “I am born again.” Time magazine published an article, “What Does it Mean to be Born Again?” People started getting “born again” all over the place, which I’m all for. I think it’s great!
But then the term started to show up other places, and it started to get watered down. A movie star in Hollywood came out of drug rehab and they said his career was “born again.” The people in Dallas started talking about the Mavericks being “born again!” (They were “dead” after losing their first two games at home, then they went down to Houston, and they won the next two.)
So after that, the phrase kind of lost its oomph. Now, it means all sorts of things. But remember, Nicodemus had never heard this phrase before. To him it was completely new, out-of-the-blue fresh! Naturally, he thought Jesus was talking about the physical, and so he asked the obvious question:
“How can someone be born when they are old? …Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” Jesus answered, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.” —John 3:4-5
But just because it’s a spiritual birth doesn't mean it’s any less real than a natural birth. Don’t let the meaning of this get watered down! It’s supernatural—an event that will certainly prove to be real.
Even more importantly for today, believing in this transforming spiritual birth gives meaning to what it means to be “in Christ.” Jesus wasn’t talking about an actor’s career or basketball team’s record. He was talking about you and the actual spiritual birth that happened when the Spirit came into your spirit!
Lord, I don’t want my belief in You to be symbolic or metaphorical. Open the eyes of my heart so that I can see the supernatural, super-real spiritual birth that took place when I was born again. Amen.
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