Monday, March 12, 2018

Setting the Record Straight: What it really means to be Born Again

We hear it from many people, especially in evangelical circles. I say I'm born again and have said it for two decades. But let me tell you a secret. We've been using it ALL wrong!!!

Whoa! Really? Really. Here's why: Being born again is entirely spiritual, not intellectual or rational.

Photo by Yianni Tzan on Unsplash Modified by DR
Let me elaborate. Jesus said unless we're born of the Spirit, born again, we can not see the Kingdom of God (see John 3:3,5). His Kingdom is the manifestation of the power, reign and authority of Jesus Christ - here on earth and in your life, as it is in Heaven too.

So what does it mean? It means that we are born on this side of eternity, with a spirit waiting to be born! But until Jesus comes and lets His Spirit birth your spirit, and obviously you're willingness has a role to play, this does not happen. So those who are not yet children of God are not born again and as result they can not see the manifestation of the power, authority and reign of Jesus or in other words, the Kingdom of Heaven.

But then, why are so many believers in Jesus unable to see His Kingdom manifest?

I believe every child of God is born again but not all of us are awake or cognizant of the fact that our spirit has really been born anew! We don't realize that being a New Creation is a very spiritual experience (like Paul said in 2 Cor 5:17).

Take a look at most Christians and Churches (not the buildings, but the peoples). Every activity they do is directed by the rational part of their beings for the most part. Bible study? They treat that like studying biology at university. Prayer? That's a work of the mind ticking of mental check lists. Worship? Let's find the best techniques, the best songs and see what people like best. Evangelism? Don't get me started! There are many who think this is a formula of careful techniques you should follow!

You see, through and through, we're not used to living in the spirit because our spirits are just new born! We literally have no idea what to do with our new born spirits. Unless we begin to nurture our spirit with spiritual milk and then solid food, we remain stunted in our spiritual growth (there's another term that's used by the church in a completely rational and spirit-less way).

Listen carefully to what Paul said beautifully:

We have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. And this is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Cor 2:12-14

The first Adam, died spiritually - the Second Adam, came to make us born again!

You see long ago Adam ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and his spirit life fell. There was a spiritual death that occurred, long before there was physical death in his body but his rational mind and heart remained intact. So today all humans are born with their intellect, their mind, intact but there's a part of us - our spirit - that is not yet born.

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being;” the last Adam a life-giving spirit. The spiritual, however, was not first, but the natural, and then the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. As was the earthly man, so also are those who are of the earth; and as is the heavenly man, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so also shall we bear the likeness of the heavenly man. 1 Cor 15:46-49

What happens when one person becomes a true believer in Jesus and His Finished Sacrifice of the Cross? Their spirit is born! But there is a clash between the rational part of our soul against the new spirit and creation. The rational part of us is not willing to really accommodate the spirit, afterall we've lived years with our rationale and the spiritual is very new, other-worldy (of heaven) and just down-right risky in the view of our rationale part. So now that we are 'born again Christians' we continue to live as rational beings but the rational part of our being fights with the new spirit in us.

The Holy Spirit does not operate like the spirituality of the world

Most Christians, including myself, live by the rational part of our being and need to learn to live in total harmony with the spiritual part of our beings - this is a process, but it can be accelerated. Now some people think being spiritual is being stupid - and I don't blame them. When you see pastors spraying pesticides on their congregants' faces for their healing, what can any sane person think (I saw an article in the news about this, no kidding)! But there are also tonnes of people in the church who think being spiritual and rationale are are two mutually exclusive activities and that you if you use your mind you can not listen to the Spirit or obey spiritually. This is nonesense!

The reason why the church believes this nonesense is because they think the Holy Spirit operates like demon spirits... I'm being totally serious.

Ever watch Harry Potter? Come on, I know you did. I've got this picture in mind, its a character, Prof. Sybill Trawleny who taught divination (I had to google that one)- one day Harry goes back to put one of those crystal balls that had fallen and the professor turns to Harry and with an other-worldly (i.e. demonic) voice, and her eyeballs rolled up, speaks a dark prophecy to him. Some people - both those who claim to operate in the Holy Spirit and those who call themselves cessationists meaning they don't believe in this age of miracles by the Spirit - think that the Holy Spirit works like that, with scary voices and your eyes rolled back 180 degrees to the back of your head.

When the Holy Spirit speaks and operates through you keep in mind, He's the Spirit of Jesus! How would Jesus comport Himself? Did He have to wring His finger in fancy robes and change the tone of His voice and shout like a mad man?

He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not extinguish, till He leads justice to victory. Mat 12:19,20
The apostle James spoke about what the ways of Wisdom and of God:
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good conduct, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast in it or deny the truth. Such wisdom does not come from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap the fruit of righteousness. Jam 3:13-18

Our spirit and mind were made to work together as one, in perfect and amazing harmony. That some can not see that or are ignorant of that, let it be. You go ahead and sharpen your spiritual skills all the while using your God-given intelligence.

Being born again - the best of both worlds

This means that when you are born again not only do you now have access to heavenly wisdom to sharpen your mind like never before but you also have a new universe of spiritual living to explore. You now have access, unlimited access, at unlimited speeds, to the Holy Spirit... so much is this access open, that in fact the Holy Spirit comes and lives in you giving LIFE through your spirit to your body and mind (Rom 8:11).

I hope you take time today to ask the Lord about these things. Are you ready to awaken your spirit? Check this link out for more on the boundless inheritance of the Holy Spirit!

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