Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
The new recruit had many of the qualities that would make him a good soldier. He believed in our freedoms, and he wanted to serve his nation. He understood that our liberty and protection come at a cost, and someone has to bear that cost. It was not until the beginning of basic training that he went off the rails. There was an autonomy that he desired to retain, but this could not happen in that environment. He wanted to start in the middle of the race. What he failed to realize about the military was that things are meticulously structured and run a certain way. It was not for that environment to adapt to him, but he would have to adapt to it. To make him a good soldier, they would have to tear him down layer by layer and then rebuild him. But he was so set in his ways that he could not embrace the necessary change.
The common mantra in the world today is that we should accept ourselves the way we are. While this may be true on some levels, this certainly is not true from the perspective of our sinful nature. We are not to accept the sin in our lives and the destruction that awaits us if we do not follow Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. To do so would be madness. The way that God has laid before us, the only way, requires great change in us. If we were just fine the way He found us, then there would be no need for God’s intervention at all. The problem is that we are flawed from our beginning and need redemption and transformation. This means that we must be willing to accept our inadequacy without offense and let God change us on every level necessary. This lifestyle, this walk, is about a great metamorphosis that is required for our salvation. If we are unwilling to make that drastic change, then we have no hope.
It is okay to love people exactly where they are. In fact, God loved us so much while we were still sinners and enemies of his that He sent his Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. Yes, He loved us that much in our sin, but that does not mean that his love leaves us there. The whole reason for that sacrifice was to realign that which is out of alignment within us, that which has become separated from the Father. If we cling to our stubbornness and to the lie that we are fine just the way we are, then He cannot lead us through the changes that are necessary for this process. This is a magnificent thing that God would want to transform us from dust to glory, but we must be willing. Father, make us people who not only accept but also welcome and pursue the changes you want to make in us.