Born again!

Jesus answered and said... Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3:3)

To be born again and find the kingdom of God—what a joy to contemplate this holy privilege. Jesus' words not only contain the promise of a fresh start but also reveal the grand opportunity for actually knowing the harmony of divine reality.

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Who among us hasn't longed at some point in his experience (perhaps even on many occasions) to be able to start something over, to correct some mistake from the past, to begin a new life or at least gain a new outlook on life? Seldom, however, can we actually retrace our steps and, through merely human means, rearrange satisfactorily the way events have come to pass. On the human scene our lives keep on moving, things change, people and places are not what they were. But of course Christ Jesus was not speaking of going back over the trail of human memories and so-called lost opportunities. The Master was pointing to something much more profound. Spiritual rebirth actually transforms the way we view reality and thereby transforms our very lives.

What is the "born again" perception of reality? According to Christian Science, as one's thinking is spiritualized he begins to see creation as truly good, eternal, ordered and governed only in conformity with divine law. This Christly recognition of spiritual reality with its all-inclusive goodness irresistibly redeems the individual's consciousness so that good, pure, Christian thoughts and actions redirect his own life while also touching and blessing the lives of others. His day-to-day living gives progressively greater evidence of a refreshed, practical Christianity.

Comforting the sufferer, uplifting the sorrowful heart, healing sickness, casting out evil—these all bear witness to the power of the Christ, Truth, that we discover as we are born anew. The self-forged shackles of false belief, of disease, of limitations, of obvious and hidden sin, can no longer bind one when the "old man" in one's thinking and deeds has been put aside for the "new" Christ-spirit that truly characterizes the man of God's creating. Paul wrote of the necessity to relinquish sinful thinking and behavior, "seeing," as he said, "that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." Col. 3:9, 10. One Bible commentary paraphrases Paul's words and describes "the new self... which is being renewed with a view to deeper knowledge in conformity to the Creator's image." J.R. Dummelow, The One-Volume Bible Commentary (New York: The Macmillan Co., 1936), p.984 .

The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy, wrote an article that was published in her Miscellaneous Writings and titled "The New Birth." It explores some of the deeper dimensions of the kind of radical redirection spiritual renewal brings to human thought and life. The reader clearly learns that the blessings of the new birth must be earned: to be born again requires a desire to be good, a devotion to understanding God's purpose for man, and a coincident willingness to work and pray for the purity of heart that opens the door to God's holy presence.

Mrs. Eddy writes: "The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love." In the next paragraph she continues: "What a faith-lighted thought is this! that mortals can lay off the 'old man,' until man is found to be the image of the infinite good that we name God, and the fulness of the stature of man in Christ appears." Mis., p.15.

As we view the universe—including our families, neighbors, communities, and world—through the lens of spiritual discovery and Christianly scientific reality, ever-fresh glimpses of the beauty and bounty of divine Soul will grace our lives. We learn to look at the proving ground of human experience as offering continuing opportunities to be born again. Here is the arena where we can strive to be spiritually revitalized, to become more Christlike, to awake to our true status as the eternally new and dearly loved image of God. We can sing with the Psalmist: "I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Ps. 17:15.


How to meet an alligator
January 17, 1983

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