A fresh start.
A new page.
Turning over a new leaf.
In John 3, Jesus teaches us that every person must have a fresh beginning - and funnily enough, it's something we all dream of whether we read the Bible or not. Isn't that what New Year's Resolutions are all about? Turning over that new leaf and starting a-fresh.
In John 3:3, Jesus tells Nicodemus;
"No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again"
But unlike our New Year's Resolutions that are often fleeting as they rely on our own strength and determination - Jesus gives us a path to that new beginning.
Jesus paved the way to God.
Nicodemus knew that Jesus's statement couldn't be taken literally though - we couldn't be reborn again from our Mother's womb. So Jesus went on to explain exactly what He meant.
Jesus was talking about spiritual rebirth.
For physical life, a person needs a physical birth.
For spiritual life, a person needs a spiritual birth.
Nicodemus (and the Jewish people of the time in general) were focused on the things they did. The rules, laws and rituals they followed. The Pharisees were only concerned with the physical aspects of worship even though they knew God was Spirit.
Jesus told Nicodemus that there is more to the Kingdom of God than physical things. It doesn't matter if you perform every ritual perfectly or keep every rule - God is concerned with your spirit - and the transformation of your spirit.
That transformation requires a new start.
Jesus tells us in John 3:8;
But what does that mean? Are we suddenly going to become vagabonds - people who are constantly wandering and never settled?
No, What Jesus is trying to tell us here is that the Spirit and the wind are very similar;
We cannot see it with our eyes.
We can feel it.
We can see its effects.
It can be either gentle or strong & powerful.
Just like the wind, the Spirit causes change. The Spirit changes people and that change is evidence that the Spirit is working. It doesn't happen overnight (though sometimes it does!) and the change may seem frustratingly slow, but it happens - and we all need that kind of new start in life!
I know I do!
I can try as hard as I possibly can and still make mistakes. That doesn't make me any less of a person. I make mistakes because I'm human - and I'm a sinner by nature.
But, my lovelies, there's good news! Jesus tells us that we don't need to be perfect in order to live eternally with our Heavenly Father.
He takes us as we are.
As John 3 explains; it requires belief in Jesus - that trust is what gives us that fresh start. We are "Born of the Spirit" and a new, eternal life begins.
When Jesus died on the cross, He stamped our debts to God PAID! He took the punishment for all of our sins - and He died the awful, excruciating death we deserved for our sins.
You know how people say they'd take a bullet for you? Jesus did way more than that - He gave us eternal life.
And all He wants is for us to love Him.
To believe in Him.
To accept Him, Jesus of Nazareth, as our Lord and Saviour and the Son of God.
God doesn't want to condemn us - that's why He sent His only Son here to earth.
So "that whoever believes in Him shalt not perish but have eternal life" John 3:16
If we believe in Christ, we are saved.
How awesome is that? God says to us you know what, I know you're not perfect - but that's okay! My Son is perfect - and he's already stamped your dues paid! All you have to do is believe in Him!
God had a plan for redemption from that very first sin in the garden of Eden - He loves us so incredibly much that He still wanted to give us a second chance (and a million more second chances - because He doesn't care if we stumble or fall - He is right there to pick us up)
I don't know about you, but that's a huge relief for me.
I don't need to be perfect - and neither do you.
It's a relief because as much as this perfectionist wishes she could be perfect, she knows she can't. None of us are perfect - but Jesus is.
The atonement for our sins has already been given - but the benefits of that sacrifice are ours to choose. They're not forced upon anyone that doesn't want them.
We have the choice to accept or reject this new life - the ultimate fresh start - and begin a new life in Christ.
It's not the easy road, by any means - a Christian life, like any, is still filled with ups and downs - but we are strengthened by the confidence that we walk with the King. Jesus will help us weather all of the storms.
This week's inspiration downloads:
Click on the link to download the image :)