I often wrongly compare myself to others using the “apples to oranges” method. I am the apple and a 25-year-old woman is the orange. (Or vice versa) I look at her flawless skin, her wrinkle-free face, her hair that is is the original color God gave her and I think, “Why can’t I look like that? Why can’t I go back to the days when my skin was tight and my knees were my own and not the Stryker titaniums that replaced mine at Redmond Park Hospital many years ago?”
Going beyond physical appearances, I further wonder about the “road not taken.” What if I had gone to a large university rather than a small college? What if I had tried to make a career of writing? What if I had stayed in my former neighborhood instead of moving to my current one?
But would I really want to? Would i really want to start over and go through the same or worse problems, stresses, and losses that seemed nearly unbearable at the time?
The fact of the matter is that it’s really a moot point. You can’t go back. You can’t re-do. You can’t start over. You can’t transform. You can’t be born again.
Or can you? Jesus did not mince words when he spoke to Nicodemus. He didn’t tell Nicodemus he could be born again. He told him he must be born again.
Jesus said that “Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.” ( v.6) If I were to physically start over, my physical attributes would eventually be the ones I sometimes disdain now. Different life choices would still lead to the occasional “What if’s?” Being born again in the Spirit, however, involves no regrets. No concerns about wrinkles. No “only her hairdresser knows for sure” musings. They don’t matter.
Being born again in the Spirit does mean this- a life of forgiven sins, trust in God, belief in what Christ did for us, and an assurance we will enter the kingdom of God. The fleeting gives way to the eternal, and the rebirth is evidenced by the work the Holy Spirit does in us and through us.
And that is a transformation I can live with forever. Literally.
Dear Heavenly Father, You made a way for us through your son Jesus Christ. We thank you. You gave us forgiveness of our sins. We thank you. You gave us a rebirth that doesn’t concern itself with temporal flesh but eternal spirit. We thank you. Through the evidence of the Spirit in us, please let us be a light that leads others to be born again. Amen.