New birth is miraculous; and radical.
The answer to Nicodemus’ question, “How can a man be born when he is old?” is: Only when he is willing to die to everything in his life, including his rights, his virtues, and his religion, and becomes willing to receive into himself a new life that he has never before experienced ( John 3:4
). This new life exhibits itself in our conscious repentance and through our unconscious holiness.
“But as many as received Him
. . .” ( John 1:12
). Is my knowledge of Jesus the result of my own internal spiritual perception, or is it only what I have learned through listening to others? Is there something in my life that unites me with the Lord Jesus as my personal Savior? My spiritual history must have as its underlying foundation a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ. To be born again means that I see Jesus.
“. . . unless one is born again
, he cannot see the kingdom of God
” (John 3:3
). Am I seeking only for the evidence of God’s kingdom, or am I actually recognizing His absolute sovereign control? The new birth gives me a new power of vision by which I begin to discern God’s control. His sovereignty was there all the time, but with God being true to His nature, I could not see it until I received His very nature myself.
“Whoever has been born of God does not sin
. . .” ( 1 John 3:9
). Am I seeking to stop sinning or have I actually stopped? To be born of God means that I have His supernatural power to stop sinning. The Bible never asks, “Should a Christian sin?” The Bible emphatically states that a Christian must not sin
. The work of the new birth is being effective in us when we do not commit sin. It is not merely that we have the power not to sin, but that we have actually stopped sinning. Yet 1 John 3:9
does not mean that we cannot
sin— it simply means that if we will obey the life of God in us, that we do not have to sin
Can you say “I have been born again.”? There is no other way to be completely blessed.
I believe that we quench the Spirit not so much by dumping cold water on His Fire, but by failing to be in close enough relationship with Him to be able to hear His voice.
The voice of the Spirit of God is as gentle as a summer breeze— so gentle that unless you are living in complete fellowship and oneness with God, you will never hear it. The sense of warning and restraint that the Spirit gives comes to us in the most amazingly gentle ways. And if you are not sensitive enough to detect His voice, you will quench it, and your spiritual life will be impaired. This sense of restraint will always come as a “still small voice” ( 1 Kings 19:12
), so faint that no one except a saint of God will notice it.
We develop a habit of hearing the Spirit. We hear the still small voice; we respond; we realize by the results that it must have been the Spirit. The next time, it is easier to recognize that voice.
Why does He speak so softly? Because He respects our free will. If He spoke loudly all resistance to Him would be blown away. He wants our following to flow naturally out of our developing relationship. Anything else is quenching.
Don’t quench and be blessed.
Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha . . . saw him no more —2 Kings 2:11-12
I once belonged to a fellowship with a very charismatic leader. The group experienced great growth and saw much movement of the Holy Spirit. Then the leader left; and the church was never the same. Later when asked members seemed more enamored of the church and its past leadership than it was of Christ.
In the days of Promise Keepers we were taught that each of us should have a mentor and be a mentor to another. This is great advice; but a mentor should always point to Christ not be a substitute for Him.
It is not wrong for you to depend on your “Elijah” or mentor for as long as God gives him to you. But remember that the time will come when he must leave and will no longer be your guide and your leader, because God does not intend for him to stay. Even the thought of that causes you to say, “I cannot continue without my ’Elijah.’ ” Yet God says you must continue.
Who is your mentor? Who are you mentoring? Are you pointing someone to Christ? Is someone helping you in following Him?
We are not meant to walk alone. Walk with another and together follow Christ and
Yesterday I saw the movie Despicable Me. It’s the story of an aging villain, past his prime, and three adorable orphans. It soon becomes clear that he needs them more than they need him. The movie impressed me so that last night I dreamed of orphans and having too much time on my hands. We live in a world starving for the love of Jesus. His love is sufficient, but it’s not getting where it’s needed. The failure is in the delivery system: Us. If we are not doing everything we can to convey His love to a suffering world, then we need to apply the movie title to ourselves, Despicable Me or maybe Poor Poor Pitiful Me. Be a conduit of His love today and be blessed and not Despicable.