Just as Jesus was born, we get born too when we believe in Him. We get reborn, born again. We focus on the “again” but we forget the “born”. Being born immediately suggests life, new life that needs to be nurtured. Jesus did not just stay “born” unlike many of us who see “born again” as a destination rather than only a beginning. Jesus grew from infancy to adulthood and moved on to fulfill His reason for being born. The growth, maturity and fulfillment of their raison d’être is more important than a person’s birth. This is why Jesus (sorry to burst bubbles) did not encourage us to celebrate His birth neither did the Apostles. He and the Apostles asked us to remember His reason for being born – his death.
Just like Jesus, believers are born again for a purpose and like all babies we need to not just grow for the sake of growth but grow into our purpose and our reason for being born, through a deliberate and consistent process of nourishment, exercise and grooming.
The new birth is obviously not physical but spiritual. But if one does not know that the unseen and spiritual is the reality, they are either still infants, which is okay since life must begin in infancy, or their growth is stunted, which is not okay because it means growth, a natural process, has been sabotaged.
For children to grow, prayer and fasting is not needed. You only need to feed them, encourage them to take steps beyond the crib and then lovingly correct them again and again until they reach maturity and independence.
Our spiritual birth is more significant than our physical birth because we are essentially spirits, who live in flesh and blood bodies. Our physical growth is most likely happening without any problem but our spiritual growth, the real growth that should result from being born again is what we must be intentional about and what we mostly ignore.
New birth through Christ is not a religion. It is not a way of life. It is not a faith. It is not a philosophy. It is a birth (it is obvious isn’t it but the most obvious truths are the most elusive in a dark world) into a life that must grow from infancy to maturity. It is a life, a life impossible without faith but it is not a faith. When we see it as a life, it changes many things.
It is a life that is as accessible to every human regardless of their culture or religion as the human life is accessible. Obviously it is a life that precludes certain manifestations and behaviors the same way healthy living precludes certain behaviors. Healthy living is for everyone but not everyone is disciplined enough to engage in the right nutrition and exercise. Same goes for this new life. It is a very narrow road and few people find it not because it is intentionally hidden but because we are in darkness, because the world is upside down, because falsehood is mistaken for truth.
Life immediately places demands and imposes a responsibility on us. No one in their right senses leaves a baby unattended. Even Jesus who is God incarnate had to be cared for by parents. He had to be whisked away to Egypt by divine instruction, to escape one of His creatures, Herod.
Life demands to be attended to 24/7. If new birth was a religion, we can shelve it when we get to work or when we arrive home. If it is a life, we ignore it at our peril. If it is a life, it never ceases and must never cease to be expressed even when we are asleep. The quality of the expression depends on the quality and the commitment to nutrition, to exercise and correction.
The beauty of this life is that its potential is Christ Himself. This is why Jesus said those who believe in Him will do the works He did and greater. The life that began in us when Christ recreated us has the potential to not be easily distinguishable from Christ Himself. As far as the physical and the spirit world are concerned, a fully mature believer in Christ is as good as Christ. They are as vulnerable and as invincible as Christ. No apologies for the seeming blasphemy but Jesus Christ is what an adult believer looks like, spiritually.
None of us is there yet but what matters is that we never consider ourselves to have arrived but are constantly reaching for Christlikeness. What matters is that I embody and express this little light of mine, this life in me here and now.