Closing the Gap 9.11.18

By September 11, 2018Daily Devotional

Week 36 Day 2

Pray:

Ask God to reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.

Read:

John 3:3 In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4 “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!” 5 Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked. 10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven — the Son of Man.

Reflect

Jesus did not equivocate, but replied directly, “No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.”  “Born again” is a phrase that Jesus coined. It is not a concept that came out of modern, western Christianity.  This is a bold and revolutionary idea. In order for a person to live in the “kingdom of God,” he or she must experience new birth.  The kingdom of God is the reign or rule of God. It is universal in its scope since God is the rightful ruler of the universe. But in terms of individual experiences of the kingdom, it comes one heart at a time as people submit their lives to Jesus as the king.  To enter this kingdom you must undergo a radical change. It is not just a transfer of loyalty or a change of citizenship; you must be born again in order to gain citizenship in the kingdom of God. Nicodemus was understandably confused, this is not something that comes naturally to the human mind.  It is something that must be revealed, not reasoned out. What hope is there then, if we cannot figure it out? We can understand it. We just can’t discover it or make full sense of it through unaided human reason. We can understand it because God can empower our understanding. He is not vague or trying to be difficult.  He doesn’t play “hide and seek” with people. Jesus is using a very common analogy, one that is, in fact, universal in its experience. Everyone has been born so everyone can relate to this experience. However, the experience is mysterious. We were all “there” when it happened, but we neither remember it nor did we have a choice in the matter.  We all do know that when we were born, we entered into life. When someone is born again, they likewise enter into the experience of the new life, which is life in the kingdom of God. This birth you do remember and you do have a choice, but just like physical birth, this life is not the result of effort on your part. As you consider the people who live and work and play in your sphere of influence, do not forget to remind yourself that they also must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God.  They cannot make it happen, but they must choose Christ for it to happen. It is easy to forget that people need new birth, so we must be diligent to remember. You must also remember that God is seeking your friends and family members and he is not hiding himself from them. You can have confidence that he is making himself known, and it is no small part of him making himself known to them that he has made you known to them.  Keep this in mind as you close the gap on loving God and loving others.  

Pray:

(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today.

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