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You only live twice

“I am telling you the truth,” replied Jesus. “No one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit. A person is born physically of human parents, but is born spiritually of the Spirit. Do not be surprised because I tell you that you must all be born again.

John 3 : 5 - 7 (GNB)

So today we are thinking beyond the physical towards something which looks pretty outlandish. Jesus is claiming that everyone has two lives and is born twice! Even for Jesus this appears to be a rather unusual claim.

Even at the time of saying it people were sceptical. In the verses just before our passage we find people in the crowd grumbling and saying things like "we cannot re-enter our mother’s womb to be born a second time". This of course is true, but fortunately this isn't what Jesus actually meant.

Both you and your mother can now breathe a sigh of relief that we do not need to go through this physical (and I am sure traumatic) ordeal. As we discovered later in our passage physical rebirth, described by the people, isn't necessary to get into heaven. However the sort of rebirth required is spiritual.

Spiritual rebirth like its physical counterpart is a radical change. It releases something new and full of potential. Also like childbirth once released it will remain that way forever, it is un-reversible. There is no crawling back inside to seek shelter if life gets tough on the outside.

Both physical and spiritual births are brought about through relationships. The difference is that spiritual birth is a product of a relationship between us and God, rather than between two people. The symbol of our spiritual rebirth is through baptism. It is a public display of your trust in God and represents your old life coming to a close as you go under the water and a fresh start as you are lifted out again.

Spiritual babies like real babies are vulnerable, needing care and attention in order for them to grow and flourish to their full potential. Your local church is an excellent place to nurture your "spiritual baby" over time into a fully-fledged grown up. Have a great week.

This weeks song is Love Take Me Over by Steven Curtis.

Header image by: Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr