What does it mean to be born again?
Jesus is pretty clear when He says that a Christian must be born again. I want to see the kingdom of God, so what does it actually mean for me? How do I become a born again Christian?
“Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:3-6.
What’s obvious is that He is not talking about being born a second time physically. He’s talking about a new desire – a spiritual transformation. There is no timeline in a Christian’s life for the point at which they are born again. For each individual it happens according to God’s working in their life. He draws me and tugs at my heartstrings until I am ready to surrender myself completely to His leading and His power.
Why do I need to be born again?
It’s when I get to the point that I realize that all I have and all I’ve done is not enough. Can I say that I am serving God with my life? That I am in truth keeping His laws and commandments? That I have victory over sin? These are requirements for a disciple of Jesus.
Am I sick and tired of trying and failing? Am I longing for peace and rest in my heart?
It is my own human stubbornness, pride, and belief in my own strength, and my own ability to do it myself that keeps me from a true connection with God. That keeps me from really letting go and letting God steer. It is human nature to want to be in control, to think that I can manage. But I am going to come to the point where I realize that if I want to be fully pleasing to God, I can’t do it on my own.
Coming to the end of my self
Then I’m finished with “me” and “I can do it”. I have tried, and have found that I cannot! I acknowledge that it has to be God that is running my life now. When I acknowledge that I am not able to do anything , then God can take over.
Jesus describes it like this, “Because you say ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’ – and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked.” Revelation 3:17. It’s when I acknowledge that, then I am at the point where I am ready to be born “of water and the Spirit.” Nothing that I have as a result of being born of the flesh, as a natural person, is capable of serving God.
A new desire
I know that I am born again if I know in my heart that my desire is not for anything of this earth, but rather a desire to serve God alone and let Him have control in my life. A desire to live for eternity rather than for anything in this world. A desire like Jesus that “Not my will but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42.
It’s when I am willing to let go of my own strength, pride, stubbornness, and relying on my human ability and follow the Spirit’s leading so that God’s will can be done. Then I find that by the power of the Spirit, everything is possible. I can move mountains in my life. That which I thought was impossible, victory over sin, is accomplished. I am becoming a transformed person; a new creation. I let God bend and mold me into the person that He wants me to be.
Seeing the kingdom of God
Then I can see the kingdom of God. My eyes are opened to see beyond the things of this earth; to see what has true value. With God’s kingdom comes everything that is truly good, both in this world and in eternity. Seeking God’s kingdom is therefore the most rewarding thing a person can do.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.” Ephesians 1:17-19.
This post is also available in: Norwegian Bokmål
You might also be interested in our theme page about Overcoming sin.