Friday, March 25, 2011

Born Again

"Jesus replied, 'Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God [without being] born again'" (John 3:3).

The phrase "born-again Christian" has taken on a pejorative sense today, evoking images of holier-than-thou types who don't drink, dance, or have fun--and who threaten those who do with fire and brimstone. That is definitely not what Jesus had in mind when He spoke the words above.

And if we believe those same words, "born-again Christian" is a tautology; no one can be a real Christian without being born again. Christians as well as non-Christians frequently seem to have the idea that "born-again" Christians are a separate breed, more vocal and in-your-face than the average churchgoer, never missing an opportunity to advertise their beliefs at full volume. That image has likely been helped along as much by the "pew warmer" as by the "turn or burn" street preacher; it can be hard to find Christians who let their faith quietly show through their daily lives. Many, believers, nervous about being lumped with the born-again stereotype, overcompensate by treating their faith like a dark secret. That wasn't what Jesus had in mind either, He Who said "You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Mt. 5:14-16). 

Not every lighthouse has a foghorn. But every lighthouse has a light.

Born again, born again,
Freed from the birthright-curse of sin:
Lord, all my thanks to You I give;
You gave Your life so I might live.

Born again, born again,
Thoroughly washed, now clean within:
Lord, now my voice to You I raise,
Swelling with gratitude and praise.

Born again, born again,
Looking for Heaven to come; till then,
Lord, may I serve You every day,
Walking forever in Your way.

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