A wise man, Nicodemus, asked Jesus, “Can an old man be born again from his mother’s womb?” Ridiculous, we say. What does it look like to be born anew? Jesus tried to draw a picture for him. A picture of the wind blowing as a picture of the Spirit of God, going where it wants, unbridled by man. Being born anew or again is not from flesh, from parents, he said, but from above, from Spirit, from heaven, from God. See the story in John’s Gospel chapter three.
To picture God giving us spiritual life is still hard for us. Therefore, here is another way that helps me understand and experience what happens. It is based on I John 4:7 through 5:1-4.
God is Spirit and God is Love with no boundaries or limits. Right? God’s kind of love reaches out first to others. Correct? God’s love takes the initiative when there is no personal benefit from doing so. Right again? God’s kind of love makes the welfare of others equal to our own. Correct again? In the power of God’s love we may choose even to put their interests ahead of our own.
We cannot really imagine God or draw a picture of God. To do so would limit God in our imagination and understanding. But you can close your eyes and imagine a color that reminds you of God and God’s love. What color is that for you? In your mind’s eye, imagine that color spreading, covering and surrounding everything until all you can see is covered, like a cloud or a mist. Like this, God, the Spirit of Love, is covering and surrounding all things.
Now we can imagine ourselves separate from the color of God–separate because of something that we feel alienates us, such as not being perfect, or being sinful, or unloving, or not even knowing if there is a God.
Imagine the color of God reaching out to us first with love for us.
Now choose to open yourself. Let the color, let God inside you, pouring into your whole being. As you choose to open yourself and reach out to God, imagine something like a colored cord extending from God to you and the color filling you inside and covering you outside. God’s love has reached out to you, and love is born in you. Pause and think about this.
This picture of God reaching out to us is something like a mother’s womb and the cord that nourishes the unborn child. We never want to cut this cord of love between God and us, or to be separate from God and God’s family, for we need the constant connection, nourishment, and guidance that God gives us daily, moment by moment.
Then we, in turn, may reach out in the initiative of love to introduce someone else to God, bringing that love to others who also will be born into the family. They, in turn, reach out to others and the family of God grows and grows.
Let us stop and thank God for coming into us and giving us spiritual life.
In Second Corinthians 6:1, Paul appeals to us not to accept the grace of God without using it. We can forget all those old things in life that disappointed us so much. God’s grace makes all things new. Every day we have a NEW DAY to live.
BORN OF GOD’S LOVE, we are born anew, born again. We have a New Birth, a New Identity, and a New Way to live out our new responsibilities. The fruit of God’s “family tree” is found in Paul’s list in Galatians 5:22, 23. We’ll talk about that next time.