Hi everyone, Rob here.
In John 3 Jesus has a fascinating conversation with the Pharisee, Nicodemus. The conversation begins with Nicodemus flattering Jesus, acknowledging that he’s a teacher who has come from God. Jesus, as usual, doesn’t play along and replies with this in John3:3:
Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born again.
When we enter into new life with Christ we are given eyes to see God’s kingdom. Another way to say this is that when we die to our old selves and come alive to God we are given the eyes of Jesus. Some say that being born again is a once-for-all transaction that occurs via a conversion moment. But I suggest that it is actually a lifelong process whereby we keep dying to the old and coming alive to the new Spirit-filled heart that God has given us through Christ. That is we are born again and again and again. We keep giving ourselves over to Jesus and receiving his eyes – the eyes of the heart (Ephesians 1:18).
I had an experience of this as I went for a walk today. After reflecting on some teaching I’d heard about counselling I chose to think of myself when I was 11 years old. I was always the last to finish a project in our practical classes (which boys and girls had to do. Very progressive for 1982!) – woodwork, metalwork, sewing etc. For years my lack of practical skills were a source of shame and I found myself getting very angry when a practical task was going badly, again. God showed me that I was getting angry at my 11 year old self and making him experience his shame over and over again. He then showed me that my 11 year old self finished every task despite finding it hard. He persevered and actually came up with a good product. He had the humility to ask for help. These are all qualities I want my son to have! So why was I shaming him? I asked for forgiveness from God and my young self and thanked God for helping him persevere and do a good job.
The point is that I died to an old agreement that came from an old wound- that I’m not practical and am useless at practical things. As a result of that death I was given eyes to see God’s presence with that young boy and the good qualities he’d possessed. That’s how it works. We die to sin and come alive to God. We learn to see the world with Jesus’ eyes when we give our old lives over to him. This week may the eyes of your heart be opened even more as you let go of old patterns and strongholds. Jesus wants you to be free of that which blinds you to his kingdom and the enemy wants to keep you there. Stand against him in the name of Jesus and receive the power of his death, resurrection and rule even as he opens your eyes to his glorious kingdom.
Grace and peace.