You must be born from above. (John 3:7 NRSV)

We need to know that there comes a time when we must claim the faith for ourselves. Faith is not something we can borrow. For faith to be genuine it has to be our own. Harry Emerson Fosdick once said, "So many church members are secondhand Christians. They have inherited it from their families, borrowed it from their friends, married it, taken it over like the cut of their clothes from the fashion of their group." Jesus calls us to be firsthand Christians whose faith is as alive as our Savior.

Nicodemus was struggling with what Jesus told him. Again Jesus told him, "You must be born from above." Nicodemus listened but still did not understand, or still did not want to understand. He asked Jesus, "How can these things be?" Nicodemus knew deep in his heart that only a person sent by God could perform miracles. He had seen and heard what Jesus had done, yet he was spiritually blind standing in front of Jesus that night. Jesus told him, "Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony."

Jesus told Nicodemus the truth but Nicodemus would not commit his life. The time comes for each one of us when we have to claim the faith for ourselves. Faith is not something we can borrow from another person, for faith to be genuine it must always be our own.

Dear God, mold me into a firsthand Christian. In Jesus' name, Amen.

Ron Newhouse

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