“Jesus replied: ‘I tell you most solemnly, unless a man is born through water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God: what is born of the flesh is flesh; what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
— John 3:5-6
Reading the following Bible commentary brought me to tears, for it truly described what God has been doing for me this past year:
All claim that they live: something moves in them, thoughts come to them, and they make decisions. Yet this could possibly be nothing more than the life of the flesh, or the unawakened person. The other life, that of the Spirit, takes place in the innermost depths of our being. The awakened believer who is habitually led by the Spirit gradually discovers changes in what motivates his action and ambitions. He feels at ease with God and without fear, experiencing that it is not so much he who orients his life, as another who lives in him.
As I’ve come to realize, being baptized doesn’t mean I automatically start living in the Spirit. Even after years of seminary training, I still find myself living the life of the flesh, of the unawakened person, in many aspects of my life, relying on my own thoughts and plans to make decisions of my own.
Yet God has been mysteriously working in the innermost depths of my being this past year. Over a prolonged period of time, and through repeated acts of dying to my plans and surrendering to His will, God has been cultivating within me a habit of relying more in His divine providence and action in every aspect of my life, big or small. Through this, I have truly been awakened in the Spirit and born again from above.
My actions and ambitions are less motivated by my poor sense of self-worth and esteem, my need to prove myself ‘successful’, or my impulsive and impatient feelings when things don’t go my way. Rather, they are rooted in the security and confidence of who I am in the Father’s eyes, and led by the desire to do the Father’s will, and trust in His better plan. They are less influenced by what people think or say, but driven by what He has to say.
Overall, I’ve never felt more free and alive than I’ve ever been. I guess that’s what it feels like to be born from above.