Jesus says some pretty amazing things. And then we make up all sorts of stuff about what we think He means.
But He definitely understands what we’re thinking.
And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts?” Mark 2:8
Incredibly: He waits for us to finally get it through our heads. Our first, and most normal reaction to understanding Spiritual truth is denial. Followed by defiance. Then sometime, hopefully submission.
The mercy and patience of God is unfathomable in this way. Where we get frustrated, become bitter, then angry and resentful because someone not only doesn’t understand us but openly defies our expectations? We aren’t living up to the example of Christ. (Not that we ever could – or will.)
He says “You must be born again.” Nicodemus muses that it has something to do with his mother. And this was an educated, high-ranking official of the synagogue! Who had no spiritual insight whatsoever. Jesus is incredulous.
“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?“ John 3:10.
Sort of like when we say to our neighbor: “I don’t understand what you think I’m saying.” We’re asking “Why are you making stuff up?”
But Nicodemus was asking, and that makes all the difference for Jesus. Even though he came to see Jesus in secret in the middle of the night, fearing what his peers might think. And in that case he wasn’t just “Making stuff up.” The Jewish religious elite feared Jesus and hated Him.
Spiritual rebirth is a reality. It’s a transformation that begins in the mind and proceeds from the Inside out.
“…be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2.
We’ve heard it said that “You can act your way into a feeling, but you can’t feel your way into acting.” The notion is that if I wait to feel like helping my brother, I’ll never help him. Most will interpret this as “Faking it until you make it.” Nothing could be further from the truth.
Often the Holy Spirit leads true believers into situations and doing things their minds rebel against. This is a normal battle and the Bible has much to say about it.
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1Cor. 1:18.
Jesus elaborates for Nicodemus:
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8.
We act our way into serving God. Simply because the Spirit moves us.
It’s a one way street. By the Spirit of God such things are transparent. If you don’t understand what I’m saying? I definitely understand what you think I’m saying, because before I connected with Jesus, like Nicodemus – I had those thoughts.
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open.” Luke 8:17
The Lord waits:
“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Matthew 26:41
We act because we know to not do so would be sin. Inaction grieves the Holy Spirit.
There are errors of Commission. And errors of Omission. Failing to act is to omit doing what God would have us do for His Kingdom. There is no Faking with God. Am I going about His work with bitterness, anger and resentment? “Attitude is everything” we’ve heard it said.
Even so, maybe it’s a struggle just getting going? Don’t judge yourself too harshly (Stop making stuff up!) Read the “Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard.”
You’ll note that the ones who arrived last were not only paid first, but just as much as those who proudly labored all day. We very simply can’t earn God’s approval. Willingness. That’s what it takes.
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8
I hear what you’re saying: “You don’t understand what I’m thinking.” Maybe not. But what if I do?
More importantly: Are we convinced Jesus knows?
Everything is on the record with God.