Born of the Spirit

Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

                                                            John 3:5-8

 

“Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’ “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed so you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents. ‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

                                                            Matthew 25:24-30

 

I’ve written devotionals in the past about the role the Holy Spirit plays in salvation—in convicting a person to repent of his sins and accept the exquisite present of salvation that Jesus Christ’s death offers us. I’ve even preached a sermon in which His transforming power has changed my life. But I’ve never gone as far as to raise the question here in written word, about how and why some people are convicted and some aren’t, as I hadn’t wrapped my mind fully around that yet. I don’t think that I accept election or predestination, but I know that there are a number who do. I did not explore how I theologically felt, as I think I was worried about what I would find? Suffice it to say, I didn’t write about it because I didn’t have any definitive answers, and I didn’t want to lead anyone astray. I will admit, though, that the question has been rolling around in my brain for a while, and that I’ve quelled the need to answer it thus far.

 

Until late last week.

Back story: in our Sunday School class, we’ve been delving into the parables of Jesus, and a couple of weeks ago, we heartily discussed the parable of the talents. I’d grappled with what the last servant—the one to whom one talent was given which he promptly buried in the ground—and what he said to his master about knowing “him to be a hard man, reaping where he had not sown, and gathering where he had not scattered seed.” And it seemed as if the master acknowledged and agreed with the man: “…you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed.” But in the discussion that Sunday, Kevin shared that the master wasn’t confirming that the servant’s assessment was correct, but rather that since the servant felt that way about his master, his master was going to allow him to feel that way and suffer the consequences of said feeling. The master knew the heart of his servants—knew their obedience, their feelings toward him, the direction of their heart—and rewarded them in kind. For the servants who doubled the talents he’d given them, he lauded and rewarded their service. For the servant with the single talent, he took away the talent and cast him into the outer darkness.

 

Okay, still with me? I was mulling over the parable and the discussion while I was praying last week when I suddenly understood the answer to my question! As the master in the parable knew the hearts of his servants, so too does the Holy Spirit know ours. He knew back in our past, before we were saved, that we would be open to the wooing and conviction of the Holy Spirit, and woo and convict He did, and here we are. But those who are not open, like the single-talent servant, or even the Pharoah in Exodus—the one whose heart God hardened—those He does not woo nor convict. That’s not to say that not everyone is presented with the opportunity, because they are: even in the parable, the servant whose heart the master already knew, was given a talent by the master. God desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4), but He gives us all the opportunity to say accept or reject.

 

Prayer Requests

  • For those going on the mission trip to Skid Row in Los Angeles—for safe travels, for personal growth, for conviction, for lives to change as they witness to an area in which there are 2,000 people living on the streets of Skid Row (of the 57,000 experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles)
  • For our Vision Team to have discernment, understanding, and wisdom
  • For Pastor Kevin and the leaders of this church
  • For the families and friends of fallen soldiers, as we remember them this Memorial Day
  • For those who are the victims of violence 

 

As instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit, we can be a part of the wooing of those who don’t know Him yet. What an exciting opportunity, hmm? Remember, “For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance.”

 

Quotes

“I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”

“If you’re not helping to make it right, stop complaining about it being wrong…”