BEING BORN AGAIN If you have truly opened the door of your heart to Yeshua, your life will reflect it. There will be a change in you. You may not “feel” anything initially or you may have had a profound experience. Sometimes people have experiences with God before they truly commit their lives to Him. This is a time when God is drawing people to Himself. But at some point in our lives, if we are to be truly born again, we will yield to the love of God and submit to Yeshua as Lord of our lives.
It’s kind of like getting married. You’re not really married until you make the commitment to share your life with that special someone and you say “I do.” When you ask Yeshua into your life, you’re saying “I do” to Him and committing to share your life from now on with the Most Special Person in the universe – Yeshua. Your “I do” is also a commitment to live your life “in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Colossians 1:10). The most amazing thing about these words is that God – Almighty and Holy God – even though they were written centuries ago, is speaking them directly to you today. He wants to lead you into this kind of enormously satisfying life. It begins with being born again.
What does being Born again mean? We were all born in the natural from our mother’s womb. As you know, we each have a physical body and we each have a soul. The soul is the place of our emotions, our mind and our will (where we make decisions). Our soul is that part of us where our personalities dwell. But we also were created with a spirit. Our spirits are the inner most part of us where we communicate with God. Some people get involved with so-called “spiritual” religions and occult practices, but these still take place in the soul. Our spirits were designed by God as the place of interaction with Him. You will find that you sense God with you in your inner most being, usually as a quiet peace deep inside.
Most of us don’t even know we have a spirit because it’s basically non-functional until God comes to dwell within us when we are born again. As you will see in the next chapter, we are all sinners. There is not one person – except Yeshua – who has ever been without sin. The Bible says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). You’re part of “all.” It is our sin that has kept us separated from God. Some think they are not separated from God because they talk to Him, but that is not the same as having your spirit alive to God so that you can hear Him speaking to you on a daily basis. Your spirit will know when you are united with God. “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God” (Romans 8:16). You may not have given a lot of thought to God or to being accountable to Him before, but once you are born again, you will find that He has become a part of your life, of your thinking. He’s moved in! He will become your delight and fascination and you will want to know more and more about Him.
Previously, your spirit was as good as dark (without His light) and dead (unresponsive to God). People often see themselves as good people, and they undoubtedly are in many ways. You are probably one of them. But if you have ever told a lie, or wished someone was dead because you were so angry with them, or stolen something, then in God’s eyes you are a liar, or murderer, and a thief. If you’ve ever taken God’s name in vain, you’ve blasphemed the holy name of God making you a blasphemer. If you’ve ever lusted after someone, you have had fornication or adultery in your heart making you an adulterer. You have, therefore, broken the Ten Commandments because God says that if you break on of them, it’s as if you broke them all. Your heart is the place of your affections, where your desires reside. It is not only what we do but what we have entertained in our hearts and minds that contribute to our sin nature. Even living a life of independence from God, as if He didn’t matter, is sin. The Bible says, “Whatever is not from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). The sin of independence, as if we are our own god, is what has kept us from knowing God before.
However, when we open our hearts to God and acknowledge our sin before Him and accept His forgiveness, the Spirit of God comes to dwell in our own spirit and restores our union with God so that we can enter into relationship with Him. Imagine that! Relationship with your Creator. Being born again of His Spirit, you have become alive and responsive in your spirit to God and can begin to enjoy the bountiful benefits of His goodness. When we come to Yeshua this way, we accept that He made the way for us to be forgiven by God, not only for the sins we’ve committed, but for our sin nature – that inclination to sin that exists in all of us. God offers forgiveness to you because His Son Yeshua (Jesus) took upon Himself the punishment for sin that you would have had to pay. The punishment for sin is death and eternal separation from God because God, being holy, does not dwell with sin. But once you accept the forgiveness He offers us through Yeshua, your spirit becomes as if it’s brand new, as if you are born anew, this time by the Spirit of God. In many ways, it is as if you really are beginning life all over again, with a new start, because God has given you a new heart, one that now includes Him in your life as Lord.
HEARING THE VOICE OF GOD
Now that you are born again and one with God, you will find that you can hear His voice speaking to you on a regular basis. You have become one of His sheep. Yeshua said, “My sheep hear My voice and I know them and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Sometimes people hear God’s voice before they are born again as a call to them from God. It may be Him drawing you or wooing your heart to Him, or it may be a call from God to warn you of some danger or of a sin that will take you down a path that will bring harm to you. Oce you are born again, you will be aware that God is speaking to you on a regular basis. It is in heeding the voice of God and doing what He’s telling you to do that results in being counted by Him as one of His sheep, like sheep that follow their shepherd. He speaks in various ways.
On rare occasion someone will hear God’s voice audibly, just as we hear others speaks. But generally, He speaks into your spirit through your thoughts or in an impression you receive. Or you may just have “a knowing” and suddenly you are aware of something you didn’t know before and couldn’t have learned. Being able to hear God speak to you is most likely to become one of the greatest delights of your entire life and something you depend upon to give you wisdom and comfort when needed. He will primarily speak to you as you read your Bible. As you read, something may seem to jump off the page, or it will seem like He’s speaking right to your heart. You are impacted by the words or the thought behind the words and you know that what you just read is specifically for you from the Lord. He also speaks through a gentle tug (or not so gentle if need be) on your conscience. God warns us of what is not good for us through our conscience.
Since He only wants the best for you and He can see what’s ahead for you, you would be wise to heed what your conscience tells you. Beware, however, of anything that brings you demonic fear or guilt. The Bible often speaks of “the fear of God.” That means the reverent awareness of His holiness and the need to be respectful of Him. If you have a thought that brings you fear, it’s not a thought from God. A fear that that brings you terror or drives you away or makes you want to withdraw from Him is not from God. God’s “nudges” are always loving, and never rejecting. Even if He is correcting us for something, He is always gentle and encouraging. He also speaks through other people. You may hear a teaching or a message being preached, or something someone says, that makes you know God is speaking directly to you personally through their words. You may want to pray every day, “Lord, open the ears of my spirit to hear when You are speaking to me.” He loves to communicate with His people and He does so with each of us very personally and lovingly, so expect Him to speak to you. And speak to Him; ask Him questions. Then listen for what He would say to you.
He may respond back, as we said, in various ways. You can enjoy dialogue between you and God throughout your day. Just as we wish to be heard and to hear from those we care about, so does God, so talk to Him. That’s what a relationship is, isn’t it? Include Him in your thoughts, even in your most secret thoughts. That may take some time to get used to. He knows them anyway, so why not get His input on what’s important to you. Sharing what is going on in your life with God as your Closest Friend will bring an added dimension of delight and security to your life as God gives you wisdom for situations or comfort in difficulties, especially when you maintain a thankful heart for Him being with you. You may want to keep a journal of the thoughts and impressions you are having and what you are learning from God as you process things with Him. You may also enjoy recording your thoughts as you are reading in the Bible.
Your Bible reading will become an adventure. Ask Him what He would like to show you in the passage your reading. Write down what comes to your mind and what the verses mean to you as you ponder them. After a period of time, you’ll see patterns in what He’s showing you. Periodically read back over your notes and see what you’ve been learning and you may see how those things have been working out in your life, one day at a time. You may notice a pattern of things He’s been teaching you. This will help you to develop a sensitivity to when God is speaking to you and to what He is doing in your life, because He’s always at work deep inside to change you for the good. Note: You are now ready to answer the questions on the first chapter. You will be required to look up these verses. This will help familiarize you with your Bible. You may want to write out the verses and your answers in your notebook. If you are in a discussion group, read the verses to the group before answering what you think each question is saying. This can be an opportunity for quite a lively discussion.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
1. Read John 3:3 – 7. This was a dialog between Yeshua and one of Israel’s leading teachers. It becomes clear that it does not require being born again to teach natural things, but it does require being born again to know what God is saying. How imperative does Yeshua say it is to be born again? What is your understanding of being born again? What does this verse say you able to “see” if you are born-again? What does that mean to you personally?
2. Read 1 Corinthians 2:14. How is a “natural man” (a person without the Spirit of God) likely to differ from a spiritual person in the way they see things? What examples can you think of as the difference between the two ways of seeing things? How extensively might that difference affect people’s lives? How might your own life be affected by this difference?
3. What does Romans 14:17 say about the Kingdom of God? Are those three qualities mentioned becoming more meaningful to you? In what way?
4. Are you becoming more aware of the Kingdom of God in your life as being different than, perhaps, the way you saw things before you met Yeshua? If so, in what ways? You may want to pray and ask God to make you more sensitive to His voice and to “see” the Kingdom around you, that is to see things from His perspective. You may want to note the things you become aware of in your journal each day. Be on the lookout for God-sightings (places where you see Him at work)!
5. Read John 10:26. What does this verse say about someone who does not believe what Yeshua says? Keep in mind that to the Hebrews, which would certainly include Yeshua, to believe is to line up one’s actions and life according to what they believed. Then how critical is the issue of faith (belief)?
6. Read 1 Peter 1:3 & :23. What does being born again enable you to participate in? How closely linked is Yeshua’s resurrection and being born-again? Please explain. What does God’s Word say about how long this ‘salvation’ will last?
7. Read John 10:27, 28. Who hears Yeshua’s voice? What is His response? What should their response be? There is a three-fold promise in verse :28. What are those three promises? What do these mean to you? How do these promises apply to you personally? Mazel Tov! Congratulations! You just completed what might be your first Bible study. You will find that going over these notes, and memorizing or re-reading the Scripture verses will begin to make them a part of you. The world gives you ungodly input all day long. These studies are giving you godly understanding that will indeed result in righteousness, peace, joy and love as you increasingly see things from a Kingdom perspective.