Peace be with you!
You are born into a world driven by the desires of the flesh. The flesh desires riches, power and might, idols, fame, and [whatever “it” is] that will take you away from God the Father. The world begs for attention and distracts you from the good news with its messages of power and riches. It causes jealousy, anger, and resentment among friends, family members, colleagues, and others who live according to flesh.
What does it mean to be born of the Spirit[ED1] ? It seems like an odd question, one which may baffle many people. People understand that babies are birthed from out of a female body after nine months of gestation. Being born in the physical sense causes pain for the mother and joy for the mother, father, and others. Doctors can explain the process to expecting mothers. Ultrasounds can even photograph the baby in the womb. Physical birth does not seem that mysterious.
But to be born of the Spirit? What does this even mean? In your baptism, you are reborn into God’s family. You are received as a child of God who is blessed with the Holy Spirit and marked with the cross of Christ forever. You belong to God, and God belongs to you.
To live according to God’s ways means you choose to live according to the Ten Commandments, follow Jesus’ teachings, and live as his servant. You believe with all of your heart Jesus died and was raised from the dead (John 3:16-17[ED2] ). You need courage to tell the devil no and to walk away. You are not defined by the standards of the world; you live by different standards. To be born again of the Spirit means you make the conscious decision to be a disciple [ED3] of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten son.
When you make the conscious decision to be born of the Spirit, you are telling the devil no; you are saying no to the ideas of the flesh and world. You become transformed into a new person, just as Jesus died and rose again. You become born of the Spirit. The world no longer entices you in the same way, because the promise of eternal life holds good news of Jesus Christ. You start to care about what God thinks and feels.
You wake up each morning with a sense of being born again in God’s image. Each day draws you into a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. You are reminded of the Good News and God’s promise of eternal life with him in his kingdom. Death does not get the final say in life’s journey but is just a means to enter God’s kingdom. You seek truth, social justice, love, life, grace, and God’s call. You feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and protect the weak. You strive to serve the Triune God [ED4] in all that you do—no matter what sacrifice that means. Power is a temptation from the devil to draw you back into the world where you were first born. But [whatever “it” is] the devil promises holds no appeal compared to what the Triune God promises you in Jesus’ crucifixion, death, and resurrection. You live according to God’s will by answering his call to serve others, and you are waiting for Jesus’ second coming. This is what it means to be born again: to live by Jesus’ teachings. Nothing is more powerful than that.
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for giving us the chance to be reborn into the Spirit. Help us to listen to the spirit and not be entice by the devil. Call us out of the darkness and into the light. Thank you for being in relationships with us. Amen.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the behavior covenant by commenting on it.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
- How are you born again of the Spirit each day?
- How does the devil tempt you to live according to the flesh?
[ED1]Spirit: Holy Spirit; part of the Triune God—God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
[ED2] “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him” (John 3:16-17 NRSV).
[ED3]Disciple: a follower of Jesus Christ
[ED4]Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit