September 28, 2010
Your Birthday: The Most and Least Important Day of Your Life
Jesus answered and said to him, "Truly, truly, I say to you,
unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Just before our second son, Henry, was born earlier this year I remember standing with my wife in the nursery, looking around and just taking in everything. The wooden crib stood assembled and accessorized with matching mobile, blankets, padding and pillows. Diapers, booties and footy pajamas were tucked away in the bureau. The oak rocking chair sat sturdily in the corner nearest the window. In only a matter of days a tiny boy would fill that little room with life and great joy.
People love babies. There is an unexplainable excitement that surrounds the beginning of life. But as soon as the day of birth arrives, it becomes simultaneously the most important day and least important day of one's life. It is the most important because, without it, one wouldn't have life; but it is also least important because it is only the starting point and then it's past. After the moment of birth, the most important thing is, of course, living.
Obvious as it seems, I was reminded while reading Francis Schaeffer's book, True Spirituality, that many professing Christians seem to languish in denial of this fact regarding the moment of their own spiritual birth. Ask a friendly, "how is your relationship with the Lord?" and you may hear an answer emphasizing a past decision, a moment of crisis, or an experience—as if past events were all that mattered. Schaeffer wrote,
"In one way, the new birth is the most important thing in our spiritual lives, because we are not Christians until we have come this way. In another way, however, after one has become a Christian, it must be minimized, in that we should not always have our minds only on our new birth. The important thing after being born spiritually is to live." (ch. 1)
Yes, we are grateful for the past. We look forward expectantly to the bright future ahead with Christ in His manifest presence. But our present walk with Christ, right now, is the most important moment. Romans 14:17 says, "The kingdom of God is [present tense] ... righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit."
1 John 1:7 reaffirms this emphasis on the present—true spirituality is concerned with walking [present tense] in the light "as He is [present tense] in the light, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us [present tense] from all sin."
Intersecting Faith & Life:
Refocus today on your present walk with Christ. If your fellowship with the Lord is broken, let 1 John 1:1 illumine the path. It says, "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."
Trust God's promise of forgiveness and cleansing in Christ, and begin to walk with Him again. The important thing after being born spiritually is to live spiritually.
continuous revival, by Norman Grubb (Chapter 1: "The Walk")