Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)
Sometimes Christians speak of being born again as if we did it, or at least had something to do with it. But this is a work of God. It is as mysterious as the wind. It is also a surprise. I remember when it happened, but have no idea how, or where it started, perhaps somewhere in the depths of my heart, but certainly in the depths of God’s heart!
Chambers says being born again from above is a perennial, perpetual and eternal beginning. He rightly points out that it brings freshness in thinking, talking, and living and makes the life of God filled with continual surprise, so much so that any staleness indicates my life is out of joint with God.
One sign of staleness is thinking ‘I must do this thing or it will never be done.’ However, I don’t need to rake my mind for something to do because staying fresh with God is not about me, not even about my obedience. It is from the Holy Spirit, light, newness, energy, the will to walk with Jesus and let Him constantly surprise me.
And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. (John 17:11)
Keeping close to God, being obedient, walking in the light and staying fresh are vital and somewhat connected. Jesus prayed the above prayer for my oneness with Him and with His people. His desire is that nothing gets between us, nothing to mar my relationship with Him, nothing to ruin the freshness of new life from the Holy Spirit.
I cannot draw my life, inspiration, even my energy from any other source than God himself. Chambers says that if I am depending upon anything but Him, I will never know when He is gone. That is a horrible thought. These days, it also seems a ridiculous thought. I felt yesterday that I was ‘running on fumes’ but it is not right to talk about the life and energy of the Holy Spirit as mere fumes. He is sustaining me at a time when there is no other source.
I need to eat. I need to sleep. I need to keep from being entangled in non-essentials that press me into ‘stale’ mode. Being born of the Spirit means having vision for the challenges of each moment. It also means being kept fresh for everything by the perennial supply of the life of God.
Last night Bob thought he would likely die soon. Every breath took too much energy. He called me to bring a book so I could take notes of what needed to be done. By the time I got to the hospital, he was repeating himself, nearly incoherent. He was struggling to breathe. Someone decided to raise the oxygen input. When that happened, he improved, forgot all he wanted me to write down. More tests, more x-rays, and so on, and he was much better by five pm. Still not out of those proverbial woods, but clearer of mind and able to breathe without gasping. God used Psalm 20 to comfort both of us.
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble! May the name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary and give you support from Zion! May he remember all your offerings and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah May he grant you your heart’s desire and fulfill all your plans! May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the Lord fulfill all your petitions! Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with the saving might of his right hand. Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. They collapse and fall, but we rise and stand upright. O Lord, save the king! May he answer us when we call. (Psalm 20:1–9)