We’re continuing our study of the building blocks. Have you completed your Soul Care Plan for 2018?  Soul Care Plan Link Today’s topic is building block “D”, for Discipleship Decision.

Today’s Scripture: John 3:1-16 (NRSV) (The Message) (KJV)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Tyler Connoley):

This is one of many stories in which Jesus stretches people’s faith a little farther than they might have expected.

The first thing the author tells us about Nicodemus is that he was a Pharisee. This means he was deeply religious. The Pharisees were people who cared about God’s Word, and about following God’s Law to the letter. Next, we learn that Nicodemus believes in Jesus. He says, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

Yet, Jesus doesn’t even let him ask a question. Before Nicodemus can finish his opening pleasantries, Jesus says, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.” He goes on to explain, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.”

This reminds me of Jesus’ interaction with the rich young man in Matthew 19. In that story, Jesus confronts another righteous person, and tells him that if he wants eternal life, he must sell all his possessions and give them to the poor. In both cases, Jesus asks someone who is already religious to stretch themselves even more. And, in both stories, Jesus’ goal is not some arbitrary formula, but total transformation. We are born of water, but we must be reborn in the Spirit.

Jesus isn’t satisfied until we become new people. It’s not good enough to be righteous in the sense of following a set of rules. He wants us to be spirit-children — transformed by God. Furthermore, this isn’t a one-size-fits-all sort of thing. What you must do to be transformed into a new creature will be different from what I need to do. However, the bottom line is that complete transformation is necessary for all of us who want to follow Jesus.

Thought for the day: What is the place in your life where you need to stretch? How does God want you to be transformed? It’s not enough to be religious — Jesus wants you to be a completely new person. (And that’s the point of all the blocks  — to spend time in the presence of Christ, and allow his presence to permeate and transform us.)

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.