Q: How can I be born again?
Thanks for this note to us about being born again! It’s an important question. I am reminded that during Jesus’ life, he was asked this very question by Nicodemus, so I will let Jesus answer. Here’s the story:
142:6.4 Jesus answered Nicodemus: “Verily, verily, I say to you, Nicodemus, except a man be born from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Then replied Nicodemus: “But how can a man be born again when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born.”
Jesus said: “Nevertheless, I declare to you, except a man be born 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. But you should not marvel that I said you must be born from above. When the wind blows, you hear the rustle of the leaves, but you do not see the wind—whence it comes or whither it goes—and so it is with everyone born of the spirit. With the eyes of the flesh you can behold the manifestations of the spirit, but you cannot actually discern the spirit.”
Nicodemus replied: “But I do not understand—how can that be?” Said Jesus: “Can it be that you are a teacher in Israel and yet ignorant of all this? It becomes, then, the duty of those who know about the realities of the spirit to reveal these things to those who discern only the manifestations of the material world. But will you believe us if we tell you of the heavenly truths? Do you have the courage, Nicodemus, to believe in one who has descended from heaven, even the Son of Man?”
And Nicodemus said: “But how can I begin to lay hold upon this spirit which is to remake me in preparation for entering into the kingdom?” Jesus answered: “Already does the spirit of the Father in heaven indwell you. If you would be led by this spirit from above, very soon would you begin to see with the eyes of the spirit, and then by the wholehearted choice of spirit guidance would you be born of the spirit since your only purpose in living would be to do the will of your Father who is in heaven. And so finding yourself born of the spirit and happily in the kingdom of God, you would begin to bear in your daily life the abundant fruits of the spirit.”
Elsewhere in the book, we read this about the new birth:
103:2.1 Religion is functional in the human mind and has been realized in experience prior to its appearance in human consciousness. A child has been in existence about nine months before it experiences birth. But the “birth” of religion is not sudden; it is rather a gradual emergence. Nevertheless, sooner or later there is a “birth day.” You do not enter the kingdom of heaven unless you have been “born again”— born of the spirit. Many spiritual births are accompanied by much anguish of spirit and marked psychological perturbations, as many physical births are characterized by a “stormy labor” and other abnormalities of “delivery.” Other spiritual births are a natural and normal growth of the recognition of supreme values with an enhancement of spiritual experience, albeit no religious development occurs without conscious effort and positive and individual determinations. Religion is never a passive experience, a negative attitude. What is termed the “birth of religion” is not directly associated with so-called conversion experiences which usually characterize religious episodes occurring later in life as a result of mental conflict, emotional repression, and temperamental upheavals.
Read more about religion and the individual
And so, we begin by understanding and accepting that we carry this spark of God within us – within our minds. And then we choose to personally acknowledge him and seek his guidance. Once we seek God, it’s proof that God has found us, and once we know God and his goodness, we can’t help but want to do well, to be a good and loving person like God is.
This kind of experience can be gradual or it can be sudden; but the result is the same…we start to live more for others and we start to be happier. The Urantia Book tells us that the highest happiness has to do with spiritual growth, and that we will be increasingly happy if we are certain about God.
And what about the fruits of the Spirit? Again Jesus tells us:
193:2.2 Salvation is the free gift of God, but those who are born of the spirit will immediately begin to show forth the fruits of the spirit in loving service to their fellow creatures. And the fruits of the divine spirit which are yielded in the lives of spirit-born and God-knowing mortals are:
forgiving tolerance, and
All of these wonderful fruits of the spirit can be practiced in loving association with others; so when you find yourself practicing more of them in your dealings with others, you will know for sure that you have been born of the Spirit.
For even more info about the this topic, please go to our topical study about the Fruits of the Spirit.
Finally, The Urantia Book teaches us that
194:3.1 “When man yields the “fruits of the spirit” in his life, he is simply showing forth the traits which the Master manifested in his own earthly life.”
Thanks so much for asking this important question.