Don’t Just Admire Jesus’ Life, Experience It

For a few days, I will hand over the daily devotions to our eldest daughter, Ashley. She’s a godly young woman, one her momma and I adore and are proud of. She’s got quite a bit of ministry and missions experience from interning at World Concern and studying at Capernwray Bible College in Costa Rica for a semester. She is currently pursuing concurrent bachelor’s degrees in English and Spanish as well as a master’s in linguistics at Barrett, the Honors College, on academic scholarship. She has a big heart to help others learn the Bible, especially college students and Spanish speakers.

In one of the most famous passages in the Gospels, a religious leader and teacher named Nicodemus once came to meet with Jesus in the quiet of night. When Jesus explained to him that he needed to be “born again,” Nicodemus struggled to grasp how God could indwell His people and give them new life.

Jesus equates this process to the power of the wind, which is nearly always a metaphor for the Spirit in the New Testament. Although we can’t see the wind, we know that it is there because of the evidence it leaves behind: the rustle of leaves, the whooshing of a storm. This is what Jesus means, saying in John 3:8,

“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” 

Although invisible, the mark of the Spirit is unmistakable, and Jesus’ sacrifice alone made it possible for us to experience His transforming power in our lives. Predicting His own death on the cross in order to take away our condemnation, Jesus says in John 3:14–15,

“So the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

We first must understand who Jesus is and what He has done before we can give our lives to Him and experience the heavenly gifts that Nicodemus truly seeks. Faith goes beyond simply mastering theology or doctrine, although that is important. Being truly born again happens when God invades our hearts and souls as well as our minds. Jesus is the only one who bears testimony of what heaven holds for us, and if He’s giving us a chance to partake in it now, who are we to pass up the offer?

Sanctification is certainly a process, and belief grows over time. We don’t become Jesus or have all our questions answered the moment we receive salvation; we must purpose toward becoming more and more like Him every day. Our effort is required, although it’s not what saves us. Asking questions and acknowledging our lack of omnipotence is crucial for growth, because God wants to answer our questions if we bring them to Him.

Nicodemus has the boldness to ask Jesus difficult questions, which we can be thankful for today, since His answers were of course insightful and thankfully documented by John. Instead of arguing with Jesus, Nicodemus allows Him to speak. We must have the same posture when going to God in prayer for intervention into our skepticism and pain. Notice that in John 3, Nicodemus speaks about 20% of the time, and Jesus the other 80%. He already knows what’s on our hearts, so we must open ourselves up to hearing His response.

Even though I won’t get all my answers on this side of eternity, I know I can trust in the God who does. Instead of sitting in frustration, I can choose to believe that He has a greater plan and purpose that I can’t even imagine. God’s patience is unending, so we can boldly approach the throne and expect Him to come through in His own way in His own timing. Without fail.

How has the Holy Spirit changed your life? Take a moment to thank Him for what He’s done and think about areas of your life that still need transformation. 

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