Wise people don’t tell everything they know.
Don’t listen to people simply to tell them what you want to say. But listen to people in order to tell them what they need to hear. In order to tell them what they actually will hear.
This is what Jesus was such an expert at. He was the ultimate listener. His words were few and full of meaning, as ours should be.
Be quick to listen, slow to speak.
“Let me tell you the solemn truth,” said Jesus. “Unless someone has been born from above, they won’t be able to see God’s kingdom.”
Born “from above” is likely the better translation than “born again” here. Unless you experience a spiritual birthing from where Jesus came from, you can’t see God’s kingdom at work. For it is spiritual in nature, not physical.
Nicodemus was an expert in the Jewish law yet still had a tough time with the concepts Jesus was putting forth. It’s the same today. Studying with the mind only, without the heart, blinds us to the real truth of God. Any understanding of our incomprehensible God that is granted to us will come through our spirit via His Spirit.
And this comes when we allow it–reading Scripture with an unhurried, receptive openness of heart.
“I’m telling you the solemn truth,” replied Jesus. “Unless someone is born of water and spirit, they can’t enter God’s kingdom.”
Water and spirit here refer to cleansing and purification. Cleansing from sin. Spiritual renewal. The evidence of salvation is the Spirit within you. If you’ve truly been born from above, your desires will be for God and what He wants. The Spirit within you, over time, will overtake the desires of the flesh.
More and more you will desire for the other drivers on the road to be at peace with God than having a frustration for them being in your way. You will find yourself wanting the love of Christ for the beautiful woman at the gym more than merely to have your way with her.
This is because of the Spirit within you that you actually received and cultivate an affinity for. This does not come thru willpower or trying harder and harder to follow Jesus’ ways. That can only last for so long before you lose it. And this cheapens Calvary greatly!
This is the difference we preach from the world’s philosophies and other religions, tho there is much good in them. There of course are God’s universal truths running thru other religions and cultures, but to enter God’s kingdom, Jesus said you must experience the cleansing from sin and the spiritual renewal that He came to bring. He was glorified so that He could give us His Holy Spirit.
Then you transform from believing to knowing. You don’t just believe in God. You know who it is who is in you, and follow His leading because of your knowing.