Why this scripture encourages me…
Like Nicodemus, I was confused when I first heard this scripture. Had I been born again? Jesus says without being born of water and the Spirit I could not enter the kingdom of God. Did this take place when I was baptized as an infant? Or is being born again something more? Mostly I wondered it I could be certain.
My uncertainty stemmed from the years I had lived lost from God, believing I would be rejected by Him for the things I had done. God had overcome this season of my life by pursuing me through a series of events. One of these events is when I read about Martin Luther and the Reformation in my late 30s. It planted in my heart that I should read the Bible. (If you’d like to know the details, this story can be read under the “Awakened” toggle linked here.) I believed this was my “born again” moment. Until today.
Today, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that I was born again several years later. Reading the Bible was an important step, but it didn’t initially lead to a changed relationship between me and God. A change of heart, through a relationship with God, is what being born of the Spirit* brings. Thankfully, God in His love and faithfulness continued His pursuit of me after I purchased my first Bible and began to read it. Several more events happened over the next few years. Each one drew me closer to Him. It was when I came home to Him and began spending time in His house—church—in worship, each Sunday morning, that my heart was transformed. Hearing His word preached each week brought this change about as I alternated between struggle and enlightenment. This is when I was “born of the Spirit.”
The peace this knowledge gives, and the hope it ignites, is glorious! Yes, I have been born again!