“Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’”
I remember times, when I was young, that I was drawn to the gospel. Times right after high school and in college. It was many years after that when I was officially “born-again”, yet I was certainly attracted several times. My greatest regret is that I didn’t listen way back then. There are two reasons for this. First, I led a sinful life against my God. If I had to do things over, there are many, many things I would do differently, chiefly regarding alcohol and pre-marital sex. Second, I missed out on decades of a rich, full life that is possible only through salvation. Compared to eternity, I suppose it doesn’t matter. Still, why would one squander one single moment of touching the divine?
Perhaps the biggest draw I had was at my college campus with a traveling evangelist nick-named Brother Jed. He was one of those hard-hitting street preachers who would walk into the middle of the busiest plaza on campus, hold his bible high in the air, and say, “Repent, you drunken whore-mongers!” As you can imagine, the crowd gathered immediately, almost entirely made of people who scoffed him. I was among the scoffers, yet something about his message rang true and stuck with me all these years. I still have his book that he gave me. He noticed my fraternity jacket and ran over to give it to me, scribbling a personal message as he came.
There were other times, when I was eighteen, when I would look at the bible my mother gave to me. There was something interesting about the Psalms, I recall. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but there was something there that spoke to me. And then there was a time while super stoned on pot I had a vision of Jesus beckoning me to follow him. It scared me to no end, but I didn’t follow. I quit smoking dope in high school, but for some reason tried it again. My friend with me got high; he didn’t see Jesus like I did. Stupid me, I simply gave up pot for good after that. I should have followed Jesus as well. Both would have been the right answer.
Anyway, it was 30 more years which included a bad marriage and wonderful kids and alcoholism before God spoke to me again. Booze had finally brought me to the end of my life, and the Hound of Heaven really started dogging me. Man, how I resisted! But, little by little, every single night as I tried to sleep, he started making a way into my hard, hard heart. Finally, when I was again facing death because of booze, I finally relented and agreed to do whatever it was he asked of me. It was at that moment of time, in the twinkling of an eye, that he touched me; and my life has never been the same. He totally removed my desire to drink. Totally. I haven’t had a drop for over twelve years, nor have I had a desire. It is simply a miracle because for the twelve years (or more!) I didn’t go a day without drinking!
Talk about being born again! That was me. Yup! I was now one of the weirdos that I vowed I would never become. Yet, here I am, today, writing a blog hoping all the world will see it. Praise God how he can change a life!
Anyway, I’ve been writing lately about changing our thinking, like we are instructed in Romans 12:2. Remembering God in our past is one way to do just that. Spend time today thinking about how God made you born-again. It may have been in an instant, like me, or it might have been over time, like many of my friends. Perhaps, like some, you were very young. No matter, if you are born again, you are born again. Remember all this and relish in the memories.
Oh, and tell someone about it. You might change someone’s day. Maybe God will use your story to change their eternity. Who knows?
Father, thank you for your compassion and mercy. I certainly do not deserve your kindness, even today when my life is so different. Still, for a reason only you know, you chose me. What can I say to that? I can never repay you. Thank you. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers