The new birth is much more than we have taken it to be. It’s much more than ‘coming to Christ’ and certainly more than abandoning old sins to take up new virtues. It’s coming to the end of a life near God but as yet independent of Him. Richard Rohr might call it the frustration realised in reaching the limits of the first part of life so that we are ready to risk all by advancing into the next and most exciting part – our new covenant experience of Christ our life. There’s an excellent example of this cited in a wonderful book entitled, ‘Trinitarian Conversations.’
“There’s a wonderful story about Major Ian Thomas. He became a Christian when he was in high school, and he became a whirlwind of activity for Christ in high school and all through college. This went on for about seven years until he burned himself out.
One night in desperation, in despair, he got down on his knees by his bed and he prayed. He knew that God was going to be terribly disappointed that he’d reached this point of crisis in his life, and so he said, “Lord, for the last seven years, I’ve done everything in my power to live my life for you. I tried to bear witness in the gospel, I tried to being faithful, but I’m sorry, I just don’t have what it takes to be a Christian. I’m sorry, I quit.”
Thomas said, “I thought that Christ was going to be very disappointed.” But he said, “No sooner than those words left my mouth, I sensed Christ breathe a great sigh of relief. It was as if Christ was saying to me, “for seven years, with great dedication and misguided zeal, you’ve been trying to live a life for me that only I can live through you, and finally, I’m in business.” Thomas went back and read the New Testament, and he was amazed at how much there is about this in the New Testament. “It’s no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” Or in John 15, “I am the vine, you are the branches. If the branch remains in me it bears much fruit, apart from me you can do nothing.” (1)
A LIGHT BURDEN
An experience of busyness as a Christian is not always as fruitful as we would like because it originates in a our false self instead of our true self. False self is built up from accumulated externalities. Your true self is who you are in union with our Father.
We can live and old covenant life as an active Believer and achieve drops of fruitfulness. But our results can be much less than we imagine because they lack spirit and life. Rivers of life happen when we and our Father are one. There’s a reason why the incarnation is everything. It makes us the manifestation of God and prepares a landing place for Holy Spirit. Life in the gifts does not belong to the old covenant because in such a mode it is not a life in the Spirit. The latter is life in company and oneness with the trinity. In this companionship we do only what Father is doing because we and Father are one.
(1) Anderson, Ray; Colyer, Elmer; Dawson, Gerrit; Deddo, Gary; Kettler, Christian; Kruger, Baxter; McKenna, John; McSwain, Jeff; Newell, Roger; Young, Paul. Trinitarian Conversations, Volume 1: Interviews With Ten Theologians (You're Included) (p. 32). Grace Communion International. Kindle Edition. THE NEW BIRTH. GO HERE.