Thursday, March 25, 2021

Batteries Not Included

 Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’ Nicodemus said to Him, ‘How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?’ Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.’”— John 3:4-8

Did you every receive a gift – a toy perhaps – something you really liked? Your excitement rose as you looked at it and imagined what it would be like to play with it. But then you noticed something written on the box labeling. “Batteries not included” As cool as the gift was there was one thing wrong with it.  It was dead and would not come to life – to function as it was intended until it had batteries. And, of course, you didn’t have the batteries. Ugh! If it had wheel, you could pretend but you would have to make it move because the mechanism inside needed what only the batteries could provide.

It is the same problem that Nicodemus faced along with all of mankind (I know that some today are offended by the use of “man” as if it excludes women, but it does not and I would say that using mankind in the spiritual sense of the term and not the world’s interpretation – I do not try to be politically correct – but I do so want to be spiritually correct – so no apologies) But I digress.  The problem is that because of sin – we are born with no batteries included.  That would be the Spirit of God. So Jesus was telling Nicodemus that what he wanted to have – eternal life – was out of reach because he had to be born again – born by the Spirit.  The Spirit is what allows us to function the way that the Designer intended. Without the Spirit we are nothing more than a knickknack on the dresser. 

So why I am I sharing this with you today.  Not because I think you have never read the 3rd chapter of John.  I assume you have or are at least familiar with John 3:16.  It is faith in Jesus that makes our spiritual rebirth possible. No, I want you to consider the impossibility of most of the people around you of functioning – living – loving in the manner in which the Designer intended without the Spirit of God. Consider how great a difference there is between you – made alive toward God  through by faith and your subsequent rebirth – and people without the Spirit – no batteries if you will.  This is not a point that should make you prideful, but sad. Jesus wept over Jerusalem.

Now as He [Jesus] drew near, He saw the city [Jerusalem] and wept over it, saying, ‘If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.’” – Luke 19:41-42

I marvel at the fact that once I was lost but now I am found – that I have batteries. So many don’t. The thing is that getting batteries – being born again by the Spirit is not the end game. It is the beginning. God has purposed that His sons and daughters will be lights and witnesses to the message that Jesus shared with Nicodemus. That we will live in a manner that honors God and gives testimony to our being made alive in Christ.

My point – Christians should encourage other Christians to honor God. Those who are not Christians – and some who are but have abandoned the faith, encourage each other to live in a manner that gratifies their lusts – the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Don’t think for a minute that we are all not vulnerable to drifting away from our new life and becoming immersed in a ‘form of righteousness’.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” – 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

We have been given the ministry of reconciliation.  Pointing the world to Jesus, the Great Reconciler. Christian, these are spiritually perilous times we live in. Just as many generations have faced before us. Think about it, Paul wrote to the Corinthians nearly 2,000 years ago. We cannot isolate ourselves from the world – God has sent us out to be witnesses to His grace and mercy through His Son. But we must insulate ourselves from the influences of this world.  Jesus was a friend of sinners, and yet did not participate in their sin. Instead, He encouraged them to repentance and restoration. And we should do the same. We cannot live our new life in our own power – but only by the power of God that is in us. ( yes I wrote this paragraph in my last devotion)

Believe it – walk in it. Let your light shine and give God the glory.

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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