Calvary Pastors This post comes from Calvary Chapel Pastors

One evening, a leader of the Pharisees came to Jesus. In what has become a very famous passage of the New Testament, Jesus responded, “You must be born again…” Jesus seemed genuinely surprised that a “teacher of Israel” did not know what was meant by being born again.

Nowadays, the term born again is used to represent so many things that it can be difficult to follow that conversation. It is not merely starting over again. In places like Southern California, people routinely change jobs, houses, hairdos, and even identities. Tired of your boss? Quit. Tired of your lifestyle? Get a new one. So, I’m sure that some people come to Jesus thinking—“Maybe I’ll try out Jesus to see how that works for me.” This is potentially dangerous.

The risks are twofold: The first is we might believe that reciting some perfunctory, formulaic prayer at a revival meeting or “evangelistic outreach” is all that is needed for a total life change, one empowered by God. Anyone who has depth of character can see through that. The second is that this is a convenient invitation for opportunists (the tares) to slip into meetings unnoticed (among the wheat).

I’m afraid that many young folks try out lifestyles like the latest fad, and believe that they can start over with a clean slate on a whim, and be “born again” into a new lifestyle.

But, some choices involve behaviors that leave deep and lasting scars, fill us with remorse, and lead to self-loathing and shame. Those who are truly born again will bear good, sweet, and nourishing fruit of the Spirit, fruits like love, joy, peace, kindness, selflessness, and self-control. And, the fruit keeps growing from one season to the next.

A real new start includes an exchange of hearts. We get a brand new heart, one that knows Jesus and follows him exactly where he went, on the same, narrow path. But, we need to abandon the old, twisted ways that can only lead to death.

continue reading the views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of Calvary Southampton

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