John 3:3

I’ve been thinking about how Jesus says in John 3 that in order to see the kingdom of God, one must be born again. Our usual definition of being born again is to say the sinner’s prayer and accept Jesus as savior.

For many, this results in little more than a Get Out of Hell Free card. There is no transforming power.

However, in order to be born again, there must be a process of death to what was. And that was self rule. In my case, I decided what to do with my life. I was raised in the church (conservative Mennonite), but rejected most of its teaching, and went off to conquer the world as a journalist.

Two decades later, I returned home dejected. Why? Self rule brought defeat.

I returned to church, ended up in Charismatic circles—drawn in by excitement and glamour and glory!—and found myself in the same place with a new twist. Now, instead of being great and glorious on my power, I was going to be great and glorious with God’s power. It was about my destiny!

It was exhausting and without rest, because it was devoid of one central truth.

For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. Matt. 15:25

More and more, as I emerge from false teaching and turn to the Bible and good solid teaching, I find this amazing fact: the church has lost sight of Christ’s central teaching about dying to self and being transformed in Him.

If you want to be transformed, ask Jesus to transform you. Pry your fingers off your life and submit to Him. Learn the teachings of the Bible—that means taking time to read it and really know it.

If you are coming out of false teaching, you may find that you don’t have any more exciting dreams and visions. The whoohoo moments are gone. Wean yourself from the lists and the profits, the flash and the noise. Starve yourself of emotionally hyped worship music till silence stirs tears of gratitude. From gratitude pours true worship.

Eventually, you will know the God of I Kings 19 who is in the gentle whisper. You will have truth inside you, and you will find that surprising ability (called grace) to put away sinful behavior and embrace what Christ did.

What did Christ do with God’s power? He submitted to the agony of the cross. In brokenness and humility–mocked, beaten, and crowned with thorns–he defeated the powers of darkness and broke the chains of death.

He paid the price for our redemption, and He showed us the way into the kingdom. He laid down His life.

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2 Responses to John 3:3

  1. Sally Haskett says:

    So good and timely.My greatest cry has been to love, to die to self. I only see the selfish, resentful christian I have become. I had such freedom when first saved. I am crying out to Him to restore me to the joy of his salvation.

    • One of my greatest surprises in coming out of Charismania was realizing that I had never experienced true gratitude before! It was all about me and what God was going to have me do. When he brought me out, I was filled with gratitude that he allowed me to see the error of my ways. In repentance, I found gratitude. Gratitude produces true worship, and that worship turns to joy. Our God is faithful!

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