Daily Devotion, 01/30/18, John 3:1-17 "Reborn or Just Religious"
"Jesus replied, 'I tell you the truth, unless you are born again, you cannot see the Kingdom of God.'" John 3:3 NLT
Religious people had a difficult time connecting with Jesus. They felt faith boiled down to following the rules. The more rules they followed, the more holy they thought they were. The reality was that they weren't holy or even happy. In fact, they were among the most angry and frustrated people in all of scripture. I think that's still pretty much the case these days. I'm not saying you can't be holy and religious at the same time, I'm just saying that being religious is not the same thing at all as being holy.
Nicodemus was not just religious, he was also a religious leader. He set the bar for the rule keeping religious elite. When he heard Jesus teach, he knew there was something that Jesus had that he didn't. He couldn't deny Jesus' power, but it was more than that. There was something about Jesus that left him wanting more so he went to Jesus privately to ask. Jesus told him that he had to start over; he had to be "born again." The phrase " born again" can be and probably should be, translated as "born from above." You've got to be born from above. God wants to be a Father to you. He wants His Spirit flowing through you. You're not a child of God because you obey all the family rules, you're a child of God because His blood runs through your veins. Start over. Become like a child who knows nothing instead of the one who thinks they know everything. Invite the Father to love you into His family. Welcome His Spirit to live in you and through you. Be born again, be reborn from above, this is the beginning of true holiness.
God doesn't want you to be a fanatically religious rules follower. He wants you to be in His family. He wants you to follow the family rules because they're there to protect you, to provide for you and to help you connect with Him. He wants you to be a child after His own heart who is seeking to become like Him. He wants your life to overflow with His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. That fruit only grows in those who are reborn into His family. That fruit only grows in those who are truly holy. You are loved!