Being born anew

Is spiritual rebirth really possible in today's world?

From infancy, it seems, we are trained to identify ourselves with a material form. "These are baby's toes," the routine begins; it continues to nose, fingers, eyes. We are measured, weighed, and frequently rated as good-looking or plain. We are often encouraged to define life within material outlines and by physical characteristics.

And, even more frustrating, we don't get to choose any of these characteristics! Material laws assign them—so the reasoning goes—on the basis of heredity and environment. Under these limiting restrictions and gauges we can enjoy only a given amount of health, possess varying degrees of strength and coordination, and express only a measured amount of intelligence.

How liberating it can be to see beyond this mortal view of man! The book of John records a conversation that Christ Jesus had with a man named Nicodemus. Jesus was trying to explain to him what man is when he is born of the Spirit. See John 3:1–13 . Nicodemus had come to talk with Jesus because of the miracles that he had done. But to see beyond the world of the physical senses, to see beyond a material birth, seems to have been more than Nicodemus was ready to do. He was willing to accept Jesus' miracles as acts of God, but to rethink the very source of his own identity was asking a great deal more.

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Testimony—how recent?
July 6, 1987

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