Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. (John 3:6, NIV)
Flesh gives birth to flesh. Spirit gives birth to spirit. Have you thought about that lately? What does it mean?
Jesus was specifically referring to people being born again and coming into a spiritual relationship with the Father, through Jesus. He was letting us know that fleshly good deeds will never bring a person into a spiritual relationship with God; they will only give birth to more works of the flesh. But, when someone opens his or her heart to the invitation of the Spirit to receive Jesus, that act gives birth to a spiritual life – and that person is truly born-again!
If you carry this principle further, there are huge applications in many other parts of our lives. In essence, you could say, we produce what we are. If we are fleshly, carnal and secular – we will produce a fleshly, carnal and secular sphere around us. If we are spiritual, authentic and godly – we will produce a spiritual, authentic and godly sphere around us. We give birth to what we are – flesh or spirit.
Is there a way to test this? How do we know whether our lives are giving birth to the flesh or to the spirit? The evidence is all around us. It’s easy to identify what we are giving birth to. So, unless you are ready to be brutally honest and have your toes stepped on, I suggest you stop reading right now. Really, don’t read any further – this may be very painful.
Apparently, you are ready to be brutally honest and you are willing to make some adjustments; so, go ahead and take a few sobering litmus tests:
Overall Fruit: Up until this point in your life what have you given birth to, multiplied and produced? A good place to start is by looking at the overall fruit, tenor and vibe of your life. Is your life marked by an authentic spiritual flavor or by a fleshly, carnal aroma? Are you leaving a trail of spiritual things or a trail of worldly things in your wake?
Marriage and Kids: Now, let’s get more personal. How are your marriage and kids? Have you produced a spiritual home? Does peace and harmony reign? Is the atmosphere one where God dwells? Is Jesus living big through your marriage and kids? Or is your home a war zone – full of strife, unwholesome words, and apathetic or rebellious kids?
(Now before you give up all hope…there are no perfect homes or kids and we are all a work in progress. At the same time, be willing to be honest without making excuses and look at the fruit of your family. If you are going to give birth to anything spiritual – your marriage, kids, and grandkids should be priority number one!)
Over the years, we've talked to a lot of parents that truly want their kids to be on-fire for the Lord, with a genuine heart after God and a generous spirit toward others. The only way to produce those kinds of kids is to give birth to it – spiritually! Mom and dad – you have to model it, pray it, live it and insist on an environment that will nourish that type of spiritual birth in your kids.
Reputation: How about your reputation? We can’t fake what we are. Are you viewed as an authentic, legitimate, spiritual Christian? Or are you projecting yourself to be something that looks spiritual, but deep in your heart you know you’re phony, "unspiritual" and of the flesh?
Influence: How about our ministries? Our churches? Our Bible studies? Our sphere of influence? What are we producing? Are we reaching lost people and helping them find Christ? Are we taking new believers on a journey of faith where they submit to the Lordship of Jesus to grow in their gifts and spiritual lives? Are we producing mature, reproductive spiritual Christians or pretend, carnal, fleshly ones? What is the fruit of our ministry? Flesh gives birth to flesh. Spirit gives birth to spirit.
I don’t know about you, but this challenges me to the core. In this next season of my life, marriage, family, reputation and ministry – I want my life to give birth to spiritual fruit – much fruit that remains! I have no doubt this is your desire as well.
Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD of hosts. (Zechariah 4:6, NKJV)
Say It: “Father, today I am taking a sobering look at my life. Thank You for stepping on my toes and making me come face-to-face with an eternal reality. I believe the truth that flesh gives birth to flesh and spirit gives birth to spirit. I am going to make some changes in my life. I am walking away from any form of the carnal, phony, fleshly version of Christianity I know too well; and I am walking into the pure, true, godly, spiritual version of Christianity that You author. Help me to walk with You so that through my life, my marriage, my family, my reputation and my ministry – spirit produces spirit – all for your glory and honor! Not by my might or my power, but by Your Spirit! In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”