Daily Reflection – 4/21/2020
“‘You must be born from above.’ The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” Nicodemus answered and said to him, “How can this happen?” Jesus answered and said to him, “You are the teacher of Israel and you do not understand this? Amen, amen, I say to you, we speak of what we know and we testify to what we have seen, but you people do not accept our testimony. If I tell you about earthly things and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you about heavenly things? No one has gone up to heaven except the one who has come down from heaven, the Son of Man. And just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, so that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.” (John 3:7-15)
Jesus recognized that Nicodemus knew that something was missing in his life. He knew that Nicodemus needed to be born of the Spirit, but Jesus also knew how hard it would be for Nicodemus to grasp what that meant. Nicodemus thought he just needed more religious knowledge. He thought it was about things on this earth, something he could see and control. But that is exactly what it’s not about.
Thus, is born the eternal dilemma of so many Christians. Its that constant conflict of seeing our spiritual lives through earthly lenses and describing it with earthly terms. That’s why some balk when there is discussion of the Holy Spirit moving within us. Its easy to talk of the Holy Spirit as part of the Trinity. But using the analogy of the wind moving through us is a bit esoteric for some.
But being “religious” is not going to save us. Being born into a religious family won’t either. Doing good works alone won’t either. What will do it is that which Jesus is telling Nicodemus in today’s scripture.
We need to be reborn through the Holy Spirit to experience the kingdom of God and a new relationship with God. It is not the credentials of this world and human action, but the works of God through the Holy Spirit that saves us. We have to recognize that our being in control and our accomplishments can get in the way of our own and others’ salvation. We have to let go of all that and let God work through us and others.
Though we may not be able to tangibly perceive where the Holy Spirit comes from, we will be able to see the effects of the Spirit. When we perceive a new strength within us, or an increase in virtues, or an ability to forgive, etc., we are aware of the fact that the Holy Spirit is present, leading us, transforming us and guiding us.
If our lives are under the power and care of the Holy Spirit, we do not know where we will be led. The Holy Spirit leads us in the moment but does not typically reveal our whole future. We must be content to be led by the daily gentle presence of God, allowing ourselves to be moved here and there. This requires trust of God and abandonment of our self to God.
Reflect, today, upon the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit in your life. Look for the effects of the Holy Spirit to discern whether or not you are being truly led by God. Allow yourself to be led and moved by the Breath of God and anticipate great things in your life.
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus Christ, your death brought life for us. Fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may walk in freedom and joy as a child of God and as an heir with Christ of an eternal inheritance.”
God finds many different ways to speak to us so that we will understand. For example, when feelings of peace or hope or expectancy well up as you ponder Scripture, that is God speaking to you. When creative ideas or resolutions to issues you are dealing with come to mind while you sit in prayer, that is God speaking to you. When you are filled with wonder and praise for the Lord as you watch a glorious sunset, that is God speaking to you.
The important thing is to expect that God will speak to you. You will learn to recognize his voice as you spend time carefully listening to him. Sometimes his voice is loud or booming, but so often it’s gentle, simple, and quiet. God is good and patient, and he will keep speaking until you understand what he is saying.