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Holding Forth The Word Of Life.

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Only Dead Men Need Apply

     You may have already heard the familiar words Jesus spoke to Nicodemus: "Ye must be born again."
     I also heard those words as a young man. In fact, I heard them many times before I made the personal decision to be "born again." Additional years passed before another statement of Jesus also gripped my heart: "Except a grain of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
     It is as if Jesus is offering the recipe for spiritual life in these words, and the first ingredient is death. Unless death takes place, life cannot be. Unless the old dies, the new cannot be born.
     Thousands have responded to Christ's first command to be born again. They have prayed the sinner's prayer and claimed the new birth, but have then attempted to incorporate the new life into old ways of living. Little changed, except that they "took Jesus with them" to the office - or to the dance floor. They claimed faith; they called on Jesus to also save their friends - or asked Him to help them make a dollar. For them, Jesus was the perfect, additional dimension to a well-ordered life.
     I have no heart to judge them, but I am convinced Jesus meant something more than life renovation when he talked about the new birth. When he told Nicodemus to be born again, he was ordering a man who "had it made," and who had already shaped his life into a success, to begin his life again at the bottom, to discard his achievements and credentials and become - not a better rabbi - but a spiritual infant. He was telling the old Nicodemus to die so that a new Nicodemus could be born with the spiritual genetics of the heavenly Father.
     That death is the deliberate decision that "I no longer matter; Christ is all." It's allowing Jesus to put the ax to all that was the focus of the old life - the unholy longings, the self-centered ambitions and the bitterness. It is the surrender of everything that comes from self and Satan, and the willingness to leave Jesus take over the inner sanctum of our hearts.
     Why is it that we are so quick to think we can be "born again" without also "falling into the ground and dying," when, according to the words of Jesus, you cannot have life without death?
     I could ask you if you've been born again. But, when it really comes down to it, I am almost as interested in knowing whether or not you have "died."
     It is very true that there is life - abundant life, in fact - for Christians. But only those who have gone through this gate of death will enter the land of spiritual life.
     Do you want to be alive in Christ? To live abundantly in Him?
     You can, but only dead men and women need apply!

- Arlin Weaver,
   Fordwich, ON

April 2009