When we accept Jesus as our Savior, the Holy Spirit comes to abide within our hearts and minds. God has sent Him to be our guide and our teacher. If we are sincere about our repentance and listen to His teachings, we will soon discover that Jesus wants to be not only our Savior, but also our Lord. If we are going to allow Jesus to be Lord of our lives, there will have to be some changes made. We are becoming new creatures and that requires tearing down the old. We have new hearts inhabited by a new Master. He also wants to renew our minds. Jesus, better than anyone, understands that the true battlefield is the mind. It is where our thoughts and ideas originate. We have to learn to control our thoughts and imaginations and bring them all into the obedience of Christ Jesus. Once our thought patterns change, our words and actions will change and our words and actions will let those around know which God we serve.
Nicodemus was a leader and a Pharisee. He came to Jesus at night because he probably did not want the other Jewish leaders to know about the visit. Nicodemus readily admits that he believes that Jesus has been sent from God. He wants to know more about this man that is proclaiming that the kingdom of God is near. Jesus immediately tells Nicodemus that unless you are born again, you will never see the kingdom of God. What an amazing concept! How can a human be born again? Jesus explains that He is not talking about physical rebirth, but spiritual. It is not a physical change, but a change of the desires of the heart. How does this happen? From a human standpoint, we are unable to explain what happens inside. But just as the wind comes and goes without our understanding, so the Holy Spirit works inside us to renew us and rebirth us as children of God. We may not know how, but the work that He does in our hearts leaves no doubt in our minds that we are being made into new creatures. At the very moment that we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, the new creation is born with all the rights that come with being a citizen of heaven. God will spend a lifetime completing the work that He has started in us, but finish it, He will.
1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith,—Hebrews 12:1-2a (NKJV)
The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
3 For we will put on heavenly bodies; we will not be spirits without bodies.4 While we live in these earthly bodies, we groan and sigh, but it’s not that we want to die and get rid of these bodies that clothe us. Rather, we want to put on our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by life.5 God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit.— 2 Cor. 5:3-5 NLT
When God first made man in His image, He looked at what He had made and said “it is very good” (Gen 1:31). Decay and death were not known at this time. Then sin came into the world and things were no longer “very good”. Our bodies, along with all creation, started to deteriorate and eventually die. Jesus came into the world as a man to redeem the fallen creation and restore it to the order that had been in the garden. Jesus brought hope to a dying world. He came that we might be made “new creations”. Newness requires that we get rid of the old. We are saved when we accept Jesus and our Spirits are renewed but we remain in a fleshly body in a sinful world. The Spirit is being renewed day by day but the flesh is decaying day by day.
16 So we have no reason to despair. Despite the fact that our outer humanity is falling apart and decaying, our inner humanity is breathing in new life every day. — 2 Cor.4:16 The Voice
Our hope, the thing that makes Christianity different from anything else, is that we will one day leave these rotting, fleshly bodies and live in those heavenly bodies that God has created for each of us. Bodies that do not suffer pain and will not decay or die. God has prepared and continues to prepare us for this transition. We have a guarantee of this that lives inside of us so that we are never alone or without hope. Until the process is complete and Jesus comes again, we live hopefully and joyfully “looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith”.
10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from Your presence,
And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.
13 Then I will teach transgressors Your ways,
And sinners shall be converted to You.–Psalm 51:10-13 (NRSV)
When we have one of those days that we can’t seem to find the joy of the Lord, perhaps we need to look into our recent thoughts and actions. Have there been any changes in our attitude toward God and His blessings? Did we take time to thank Him for our salvation or did we just take it for granted? Jesus did not have to die, He chose to die for us. After each prayer, do you take time to thank God for the answer and just give Him praise for Who He is and what He has done and continues to do. If you are not finding joy in this season of joy, perhaps you have moved away from God. He inhabits the praises of His people. He will hear your praises and you will feel His presence. Slip into His arms and find rest, joy, and peace. Not just today, but every day.