“Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (Christ Jesus, in John 3: 3).
“Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?” (John 3: 4).
“Jesus answered, ....Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3: 5-8).
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, Which things also we speak, not of the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost (Spirit) teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” (I Corinthians 2: 12, 13) (My parenthesis.)
“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” (I Corinthians 2: 14).
“For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (I Corinthians 15: 53).
Years ago, when I was still teaching school, I was conferring with a mother of a thirteen year old student concerning her daughter's school work, which was good. Right away, however, this mother seemed depressed and almost in tears; so I asked her if anything else was wrong (since my report of her daughter's work had been good). She told me that, she didn't care anymore if her daughter's school work was good. The day before, her daughter had insulted her terribly; and she didn't even want to talk about the child now.
The mother said that upon coming home from work, she'd found her daughter sobbing her heart out. At first, the girl didn't want to tell her mom why; but then the mother said, “You can tell me anything.” The girl sobbed out in a very angry tone, “Well, I'm afraid I'm going to end up looking just like you!”
Now, I had to control my impulse to laugh, for this woman was actually attractive and stylish; but I could see that she was deeply disturbed, to believe that her daughter was ashamed of her, or her appearance. So I said, “Did you ask her exactly what she meant by that?”
The woman replied, “No...I just went to my own bedroom and closed the door!”
Since I was rather used to the social pressures on thirteen year old students, I felt that the girl probably didn't mean what she'd said in quite the way it came out. So I suggested to the mother that she go home and ask her child to explain such a remark further and identity what was really bothering her about her mother's appearance. This she agreed to do.
The next day, I received a phone call from the mother, and (as I recall) she said it turned out to be a really bizarre thing: the awful thing the girl feared was her mother's widow's-peak on her forehead. (To me, the widow's-peak was part of the woman's unique stylishness.) Her daughter felt that, although the mother looked fine with her hairline coming to a point in the middle of her forehead, she (the daughter) wouldn't look good with it. Her own face was too long, and she'd have this oddity for life. (Actually, the daughter's hairline was straight—no hint of a widow's-peak; but I guess she thought it to could come upon her in the night.)
The mother felt a lot better, since her daughter's fear seemed to be so frivolous. (Probably, the girl was feeling like an ugly duckling, at the time; and felt that one more oddity was all she could take!) But more pointedly, it high-lighted an earth-born fear that we've all been taught to have: the fear that there exists a physical law of material heredity, as a real power, which might attach anything bad to us, at any time throughout our earthly lives.
In other words, we've all heard the universal belief that, just because we don't show some nasty inherited trait in infancy, doesn't mean that we've escaped it. At any time during our earthly sojourn, (this belief claims) some material law can attach an evil thing to our being, be it disease, ugliness, bad inclinations, or dangerous habits; and there's nothing we can do about it—we are without recourse or salvation from it. Actually, that's what all material beliefs concerning good and evil, as twin powers in our lives, bring us to: resignation and suffering from the evils we've been told can belong to us.
Spiritual truth, however, can deliver us from both bad traits and conditions, as well as the fears which they produce. But brought up as we are in our global society, the simplest truths, (about spiritual rather than physical being) can be the hardest to comprehend and master—even though such truths may conquer, one way or another, everything bad we've learned to accept about ourselves and other.
One such universal truth, which I've come to accept and realize, is that physical being, (our fleshly, mortal identity, with all its good and evil traits) is a state of self-deception. It has nothing to do with our real identity, born of Spirit, existing forever in God's harmonious, spiritual creation—as perfect in being as our Father/Mother is perfect. It's good to learn and digest the spiritual fact that the material-seeming never becomes the spiritually-real. Healing of the physical, however, can occur when spiritual facts are seen and absorbed in consciousness.
Physical identification, (this false sense of identity, born of the flesh) plagues everyone in this human experience, hiding our true selfhood which really is and was “born of the Spirit.” This re-birth back to the realization that the physical self is a mistaken sense of identity, is the only way out of the bad traits and tendencies that seem to belong to each of us here, in this deceptive, human condition where we seem to be fleshly beings.
Our true identity, and place, is always present with us, though we perceive it not. We don't perceive it because what we call birth, on this material plane of thought, claims to wipe our memory clean of what has gone before. We think that physical birth is the beginning of our existence, with nothing having gone before. From infancy on, we daily, mentally, 'build' this new, physical identity, losing whatever memories of our home in Spirit we brought with us.
So, let's examine this falsity at close range.
Consider this: on a certain date in the material line of time, in a certain place on planet Earth, each of us is born into fleshly form and an earthly identity. Now, physical scientists (those individuals around the world who believe in physics, or matter, as the real substance of being) will immediately begin to refer to the DNA, or material pattern, of the infant. In the blueprint of matter (this conventional wisdom proclaims) is the new identity's traits and characteristics, which belong to this fleshly infant for its lifespan here, on the material plane of existence.
Now, these traits and characteristics will be both good and bad, depending upon the family tree. The individual blueprint for each of us is said to be a random combination of various traits of our fleshly mother and fleshly father, both of which also acquired their traits and characteristics from their parents. This creates a physical line of possible inherited things, both good and bad in partnership, tracking back to Adam and Eve, the common ancestors of us all. With all the material possibilities, siblings can be quite different from each other, in both physical health issues and personalities—but most importantly, material heredity can seem to be a law that can't be broken. That would mean that, while we like the good parts that the flesh provides, we are also stuck with the bad. And some things can be very bad.
Rarely has anyone been physically born even close to perfection—that is, having all sufficiently-sound traits and all-good characteristics. Rather, we may have great teeth, but terrible hair; or we may have healthy bones, but chronic lung problems, always prone to colds. Likewise, our physical brain might be great in math, but unable to write poetry; or we may have great grandfather's temper and meanness, but Aunt Hazel's intelligence. We may be inclined to be dishonest, or filled with integrity. From reading the DNA makeup, (and nothing else) medical science is already predicting all the diseases we are inclined to have in our lifetime here, both physical and mental.
And so, making matter the source of being, and leaving God, the divine Intelligence and Creator out of the picture, it seems logically unreasonable to pay attention to anything other than physical science and its new DNA path of evidence concerning identity. Claiming that there is no Spirit, no divine Intelligence, no spiritual realm (or, if there is, it's irrelevant to truth) makes DNA the new god and oracle of humanity.
(Now, while DNA evidence is certainly advantageous in finding out who has been at the scene of a crime, that's where I'm content to leave it. In the criminal field, it becomes one more factor in examining the physical crime scene. But even this has a hiccup; for although it can prove that someone was at the scene of a crime, it doesn't always prove that the individual committed the crime. It might even prejudice the jury, causing innocent people to be found guilty, just because there was DNA evidence to show that they were on the scene, at one time.)
Let's now look at what being 'born again' might mean.
To be, “born again,” and “born of the Spirit,” as Christ Jesus said, may be the most important thing we ever do—not just for our lifespan here, but throughout our eternal journey. It means discarding all beliefs that we are merely fleshly forms of matter, living and moving about in a material environment, and replacing these beliefs with the recognition of a spiritual dimension concerning existence, which is hidden to material thought and beliefs. In this spiritual realm is found our salvation from all fleshly ills and discords, which simply don't exist in divine Spirit's harmonious creation.
When Christ Jesus said we should be “born again,” he was, in essence, discarding the physical birth and calling us back to our spiritual birth, or origin. Quite probably, when going around the countryside, healing people of all types of physical and mental disorders, Christ Jesus and his disciples were mentally 're-birthing' these sick ones back into their true identities—which were actually free in Spirit, from all beliefs of the flesh.
On this material plane of thought, our memory of any such spiritual self seems lost to us—just as when we're dreaming in sleep and can't remember our true circumstances, or identity, when awake. When sleeping, we're in a lower-level of conscious awareness. That's what sleep is: a lower level of consciousness, where our awareness and perception is partial, not complete. Thus, in sleep, our sense of reality is bounded by our dreams. That's what is actually going on, mentally, in this seeming material dimension. Just as nightly sleep brings unreal dreams of existence elsewhere, life in a fleshly form and environment is a lowered perception of our actual spiritual reality. The state of mind which assesses our circumstances from a material, rather than the true, spiritual perception, is bounded by the belief in material existence as all in all.
The Truths Which Bring Re-birth
Spiritual truths flow into consciousness easily, when summoned, because we're never alone in a physical body or mind at all. We've always been at one with our true Source, the divine Intelligence and spiritual Being, we call God. Our forever link to God is right in the deepest part of our consciousness. When we call upon the divine presence within us still, whatever truth of spiritual perfection and being we need to know at the time, comes forth to overcome the lies of a material existence and self, separated from our divine Source. Then, when spiritual truths have completely defeated whatever material lie is troubling us, (that is, when no more doubts exist of God's loving presence and control over our being and life) two things will happen: first, a peace, not of this world, will flow over us; and, second, whatever healing is needed materially, soon follows the peace which spiritual truth brings to human consciousness.
These healing changes occur in the physical dimension, not because of any magic, or even an intervention from the divine Intelligence. They occur because whatever our level of consciousness is (or whatever spiritual enlightenment we perceive) that is the condition of body that we'll manifest into material form. This works with both health and illness; our mental beliefs make the difference in how we project ourselves outwardly.
Ultimately, our putting back on our spiritual identity, which recognizes God, the divine Creator as the only Source and Authority in Its own creation, is the mental activity which takes us back to our eternal life and self—that self which really is the image and likeness of God. In our true identities, we each reflect all good traits, conditions, and circumstances of the spiritual realm (heaven) which is our true home. In this kingdom of God, nothing is lacking for eternity, not even perfect soundness and health, since divine Spirit is the ultimate source of life and all good things which maintain it. Always at one with our divine Source, our true substance of body and mind is always being renewed, or “capped off” as I like to refer to it.
Paul the Apostle was referring to this translation of the mind back to our innate self when he said, “For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.” (See citation at top of article.) Note that physical death has no place in this 'putting on' of incorruptible being and immortal life. This is a spiritually, mental activity, that can be accomplished here and now, for all followers of this path.
So, it is critical to know our real selves and the presence of the kingdom of God, in order to overcome all the ills of the flesh, including bad health, bad relationships, wars, and whatever other evils come with a belief in fleshly, mortal identities and places. Spiritual truth must be sought out, as one would search for diamonds hidden under the ground.
So, in essence, the reason we must re-birth ourselves, mentally, is to regain our original, spiritual sense of ourselves—our true origin in divine Spirit, which we've always had sleeping in our greater memory. Christ Jesus wasn't referring to any new birth of the flesh; rather, he was wanting us to let the fleshly identity slip away and reclaim our forgotten, spiritual identity as God's own image and likeness, urging us to bring ourselves out of the physical amnesia that hides our true and divine Self, which is safe and sound, forever, in God—both before and after the experience we call physical death.
Let me present a quick example of what I'm talking about: Say that someone is plagued by the belief that he or she is overweight because of an inherited tendency to be so, due to one human parent, or both. Turning from this utterly material assessment and view of the issue, and realizing the simple truth that one can't inherit a tendency to be over-weight from any human parent, since God alone is our true Parent and Source (origin) and God isn't over-weight, begins, at once, to undermine the lie of material inheritance of the bad condition called obesity, or lack of proportion.
Add to this realization, these words from Paul the Apostle, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ;” (Romans 8: 16, 17 to 2nd ;) and a light starts to dawn in consciousness, that, maybe, our fleshly body isn't all there is to us—and, in fact, maybe isn't much of us at all. And the bad condition appearing as over-weight and out of proportion begins to seem suspect. Why keep a bad trait if we don't have to? (This realization weakens the physical belief we're holding even more.)
Now add these teachings of Jesus:
These teachings presented by the Master actually tell us that we have the capability to be perfect, in all the ways there is to be perfect—of body, mind, and spirit. But Jesus had to break humanity's belief in the physical family, in order to present our true family and inheritance: a spiritual recognition of Family, with God as the divine Mother/Father of the universe, and all identities as children of a perfect God, brethren to each other.
Just taking in these simple assertions above will eventually heal this particular claim of obesity, by first, breaking down the fleshly belief we held in consciousness; and, then, mentally seeing the spiritual truth. God's law supersedes all material rules pronounced on this planet. God keeps us perfect by keeping us spiritual, whatever or however we seem to be physically. No material law exists to stop healing, once we throw the lie of material power out of consciousness, and re-assert the truth that God is omnipotent—having all power.
That's really the essence of spiritual healing of the physical aberrations of disease, injuries, and aging—realizing that we're really an emanation of God, imaging forth all that God is spiritually, each in our own unique, individual way. All the bad things of this world, whether on body or in one's life experience, can be transformed through such spiritual intuitions of truth, so our bodies and lives better match our true status in Spirit. Spiritually speaking, bad things were never a part of us to begin with. Mankind made in the image and likeness of divine Spirit (with no elements of physicality to claim as our own) is never touched by the physical dimension at all, whatever our acceptance of material beliefs has conjured up in our experience.
Once we begin to spiritually awaken back to our true identity, however, we also find that our spiritual memory was only sleeping, not lost. When we open our mental door and call upon our true, spiritual knowledge within, these divine intuitions and facts gently come forth in a surprisingly natural way, delivering us from the depressing hopelessness that can overwhelm us and make us miserable. They lift the gloom when we're feeling trapped by material circumstances. As we practice this new way of thinking, we'll begin to comprehend Paul the Apostle's words when he said, “...now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.” (Romans 13: 11) and “...Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.” (Ephesians 5: 14).
The universal Christ identity (our spiritual identity) is filled with all spiritual truth. It's within us. This light of spiritual truth shines before the darkness of all material beliefs of existence. It comes forward when called upon. Then, one by one, the bad things that seem to belong to us, begin to disappear from even the physical scene—and we discover that, freedom from the bad is the ultimate gift of our loving God.