"I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit." John3: 5-6
"I am going on a solo birthday trip to the mountain resort to get my soul right with God again," I announced to my husband the day before my birthday weekend. He just shook his head in agreement. He knew that I needed it, lest I lose altogether. In horror, he had witnessed my meltdown the day before after a harsh meeting, followed by a ridiculous comment a coworker sent after the meeting.
According to this coworker, the results I presented in the discussion, showing what my team and I had been striving for the past few months was simply not good enough.
Again, I was not good enough—a feeling I am all too familiar with.
I was sinking fast back into the trap of performance-based approval in my new role. Despite having written an entire book about building my identity in Christ, I was being pulled by the undertow of our culture. We certainly live in a "performance proves your value" culture. We measure everything, even our kindergartners, in an attempt to show our value to those around us. Our worth is based on how we measure up to the myriad of measuring systems we subscribe to.
But this is not how the Kingdom of God works. In the Kingdom of God, we are reborn into our secure identity as beloved children of God simply by believing in Christ as our savior.
When Jesus came to earth, the Jewish people also lived under the performance-based system. Their religion had over six hundred rules that they needed to follow perfectly to be good with God. And they had rule enforcers. The Pharisees and Sadducees, the religious leaders of the time, actively looked for, judged, and condemned the Jewish people for their inability to measure up. They believed that you could not be a man of God unless you could follow all of these rules perfectly.
But a curious Pharisee named Nicodemus goes to Jesus in secret, and Jesus reveals to him a Kingdom truth. He says, "I tell you the solemn truth unless a person is born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God." (John 3:3) Of course, Nicodemus gets confused because he is so wrapped up in his performance-based religion, he does not understand. Jesus dives in further and says, "I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born of water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit." John3: 5-6
What Jesus is telling Nicodemus is that you cannot enter the Kingdom of God with good works or following the rules, but rather only by being reborn into your new identity as a child of God by believing in Christ.
Listen to how Apostle John puts it in the introduction to his gospel. "But to all who have received him—those who believe in his name—he has given the right to become God's children —children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband's decision, but by God." John 1:12-13
Simply by believing in Him, we are reborn into our new identity as children of God. There are no levels you need to progress through. There are no works based rules to follow. You simply need to believe in Christ to become beloved children of God.
On my mini-sabbatical, Jesus came right alongside me and reminded me of this truth. I laid down all my measuring systems again and allowed the Spirit to rebirth this truth in my spirit. And as quickly as I surrendered I was washed clean of all my idols and sin, with a fresh new start as a beloved child of God.
Simply put, my identity is and always will be beloved child of God. And so is yours.
Let's ask for rebirth to our identity as child of God again:
Father, you are so good. You are the creator of the universe and have set the truth in motion. You know that we live in a performance-based culture and we get lost from time to time. Forgive us for trying to measure up and wash us clean in a rebirth back to your truth, which is simply that we are children of God saved by your son. We accept this baptism of the Spirit and ask you help us remain strong in the truth that we are simply your children. In Jesus' name amen.
More TRUTH to read:
How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son. Ephesian 1:3-6 MSG
Fight the Lies About Who You Are With TRUTH!
In a performance-based value world system like the world we live in lies about our identity constantly bombard us. And we have an Enemy who wants nothing more than to let us believe we are not loved by God.
It is time to fight back with the truth.
Print this free 7 truths poster and read the truth over yourself as often as you need. They are more than affirmations, they are what God says about you - His beloved child!