As I was reminiscing with my husband about how much our lives have changed over the almost 39 years of our marriage, the Lord brought to my remembrance that this is the year of my 25th birthday! You may question my sanity or my math when I say that I’ve been married almost 39 years and yet I’ll be celebrating only my 25th birthday: How is that possible? It’s because it wasn’t until 25 years ago that I was ‘born again’, which is when I experienced a ‘new birth’ and truly began to live the life for which I was created!
You may have heard the words ‘born again’ and wondered, “What does that really mean?” The phrase comes from John 3:3-6:
Jesus answered him, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless a person is born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified], he cannot [ever] see and experience the kingdom of God.”
Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born, can he?” Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh [the physical is merely physical], and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. AMP
It is clear from this passage that it is critically important that we know what it means to be ‘born again’-- as well as assured that we have been-- if we desire to see and experience the kingdom of God.
How did I know that I was indeed ‘born again’? When I humbled myself, put my faith in Jesus, and turned my life over to Him, I immediately experienced a freedom, peace, and joy that I had never known before, and that is still with me today! I look back over my life and see that although my personality may be the same as it was before, so much of my life has changed—and ALL for the better-- since that day in November of 1993 when I released my hold on my life and gave it back to God, its rightful ‘owner’ (1 Corinthians 6:20). ‘Who I am’ was transformed when I realized ‘Whose I was’.
Scripture tells us that when we place our faith in Jesus as our personal Savior, we actually become joined together with Him; we are ‘born of the Spirit’ and become a ‘new creature’. With His Spirit living and at work in us, …’the old things’ pass away, and ‘new things’ come.
Therefore if anyone is in Christ [that is, grafted in, joined to Him by faith in Him as Savior], he is a new creature [reborn and renewed by the Holy Spirit]; the old things [the previous moral and spiritual condition] have passed away. Behold, new things have come [because spiritual awakening brings a new life]. 2nd Corinthians 5:17 AMP
By God’s grace, I can testify that I have experienced all of the changes listed below. Are you able to testify to these changes in your own life?
8 Signs that You Have Been Born Again:
1. Your desires change: You no longer ‘crave’ the things this world values, instead, your desire is to live for God’s glory and His pleasure (Isaiah 43:7). You long to please God and to demonstrate your love for Him by obeying His commands and doing the works He created you to do (John 14:15; Ephesians 2:10). You desire to honor Him in thought, word, and deed and to make Him known to others who also are in need of the peace, joy, love, and freedom that only He can provide. Seeking God and His kingdom and 'walking by His Spirit' becomes your priority instead of living to satisfy the desires of your flesh. (Matthew 6:33; Galatians 5:16)
2. Your vision changes: Your eyes become fixed upon what is unseen rather than upon what is seen, or in others words upon what is eternal rather than temporal. (2nd Corinthians 4:18) You gain a ‘God-view’ versus ‘man’s view’ of the world, which provides you with revelation, understanding and wisdom. You look at people and situations through the lens of scripture, no longer focusing your attention upon outward appearances, but instead looking at the hearts of people (1 Samuel 16:7). You realize that God can be trusted with your personal life-- as well as the world situation--because you ‘see’ God ruling and reigning over all of the earth! (Colossians 1:15-17; Romans 8:29-31;Psalm 47:8; Psalm 103:19)
3. Your mind changes: You are given a new mind, the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16) Your mind is renewed as you read His Word that reveals His Character and His ways, and enables you to discern what is the ‘good, pleasing, perfect will of God’. (Romans 12:2) Instead of the rebellious, self-focused, worldly thoughts you had before knowing God, His thoughts will become your thoughts, and His ways your ways! (Isaiah 55: 8-9; Philippians 2:5)
4. Your heart changes: You are also given a new heart. (Ezekiel 36:26). The heart is the seat of emotions, and you will find that you will love what God loves, and you will hate what God hates. He loves righteousness, and He gave us His commandments for our good so that we can live righteous lives that are filled with freedom from every bondage, peace, and joy. He also hates what is evil-- which is rebellion against His perfect will-- because He knows rebellion, which is sin, always leads to death and destruction and He is the Giver and Sustainer of Life. (Luke 10:27; Amos 5:15; Psalm 97:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Matthew 5:43-44) God loves all of His creation, and as your heart becomes more and more like His heart, you too will love others ‘as Christ has loved you’, even those who persecute you and are your enemies. (Matthew 5:43-44)
5. Your words change: “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks’ (Luke 6:45); so since you gain a new heart when you are ‘born again’, what comes out of your mouth changes too. Blessings rather than curses will pour forth from your mouth! You will sing praises to God, and offer up prayers to Him and for His people. (Psalm 7:17; 35:28; 71:15; 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18; Romans 12:12; Ephesians 6:18) ‘Rivers of living water’, wise, and just words will pour forth from your mouth that will be a fountain of life to others! (John 7:38; Proverbs 10:11; 21;Psalm 37:30)
6. Your hearing changes: You will have ‘ears to hear’ and know the voice of Jesus Your shepherd Who will protect, lead, and guide you into ‘paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake’. (Psalm 23; John 10:4; 14; 16; 27) You will hear the convicting as well as comforting and encouraging voice of the Holy Spirit Who will lead you into all truth; (John 14:26; John 16: 7-11; 13) and you will be able to hear the voice of the Father as He pronounces His words of love over you. (Zephaniah 3:17)
7. Your family and friendships change: You are born into a ‘new family’, the family of God-- made up of other believers in Jesus from 'every tongue, tribe and nation' from all over the world and throughout history. That doesn’t mean you are to ‘discard’ your family of origin, but that you have also been given the gift of a new family who shares your love for the Lord--something your family of origin may or may not share—who can come alongside you and encourage you to grow in your knowledge, understanding, and love for the Lord! It is important that you surround yourself with fellow believers who can ‘spur’ you on to ‘love and good deeds’ (Hebrews 10:24), and who can encourage you, especially as you see the Day of Christ’s return approaching. (Hebrews 10:25) In addition, although you will pray for and share the gospel with former friends who are living in rebellion toward God, you will limit your interactions with them in order to be careful not to do as they do, knowing that ‘bad company ruins good morals’. (1 Corinthians 15:33 ESV)
8. Your actions and attitudes change: You will ‘bring forth the fruit that is keeping with your repentance’ (Matthew 3:8). You will be a ‘doer of the Word’ who proves that your faith is indeed alive (James 1:22; 2:17, 26). It will become apparent that it is ‘no longer you who lives, but Christ who lives in you by faith’ (Galatians 2:20) and that He empowers you to do the will of the Father, even when ‘your flesh’ doesn’t ‘feel like’ obeying God. You will bear the fruit of the Spirit that is at work and living inside you: you will operate in His love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) You will help those who are in need (Isaiah 1:17); you will go and share the gospel and make disciples (Matthew 28:19); and in general, you will ‘offer your body as a living sacrifice’ (Romans 12:2) in imitation of Christ Who offered up His life for your sake. (Philippians 2:1-11; Ephesians 5:1-2) Even in the face of death you can have peace, knowing that the same Spirit that overcame death is alive in you, and therefore death has lost its 'sting' and 'has been swallowed up in victory'!(1 Corinthians 15:54)
Have you truly been ‘born again’? Are you experiencing the victorious life that Jesus promises when you entrust your life to Him and allow His Spirit to live through you? If not, you can by confessing your sin to God and by asking Him to come in and completely take over your life! I can assure you that He will be faithful to give you all of the above—and so much more!
Written by Julie Van Gorp