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: Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3, NKJV.

A New Birth

      What a difference a little time can make!  In an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, things can change forever. One form of existence can pass away and a new one begin. It may be the heavenly transfer by which we pass from this earthly life to that of eternity. It may also be the beginning of an earthly life, that marvelous transition from egg or womb that occurs at birth.
     Marvelous as it may be, we pretty much understand the birth process and the changes that take place as the baby grows to adulthood. Jesus’ use of the term “born again” puzzled Nicodemus, who envisioned a “replay” of that earthly birth, entering a second time into his mother’s womb, to be born.
    Jesus is talking about a spiritual rebirth, of course, but think how people not associated with the teachings of the church or the sayings of Jesus might interpret our common usage of the phrase “born again.” Would they not look upon it much  as Nicodemus did? We have some explaining to do, of course.

    I question that even within the church the term is fully understood for what it really means. We ask, “Do you accept Jesus as your savior?”
“Oh! Yes! Sure I do!”

    We see people accepting things all the time as their one and only:
“I use only (this brand) of pain medication.”
“My favorite music group is ‘Moobledy Moop’.”
“I only root for __________“
        (insert name of team or athlete.)

    Well, there is some behavior modification involved here, but is that all that it is - accepting one thing above others?
A new birth Consider this: I have been associated with farming for most of my life. I have witnessed numerous births in fur and feathers, hair and wool. My wife and I are currently shepherds, keeping sheep. Most of the time lambs are born without any help from us, but now and then the ewe needs human assistance. We had such a case recently; the baby was not positioned correctly, and the ewe wasn’t able to deliver by herself. But she wouldn’t let us humans help, either. If we approached, she got up and ran off. We couldn’t even get close enough to read her ear-tag number.
    Finally, she stopped just long enough that we were able to catch her, and relieve her from her distress. The birth was a success; a nice, healthy lamb!
    But in that instant, she changed. She became a mother. Her hormones kicked in, her full attention was on the baby, on nurturing and protecting it. No more running; nothing else mattered.
    Think about this: when we stop and let Jesus relieve us from our distress, we “give birth” to a new spirit that we can not do by ourselves. Now, let those ‘heavenly hormones’ kick in, give that “baby spirit” your full attention. Nurture and protect it.

May 14, 2006

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