*Sustaining Spiritual Birth
“So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
John 3:8 NASB
When one is born of God, born of the Spirit, how the manner of his existence is changed! His whole soul is now sensible of God, and he can say, by sure experience, “You are about my bed and about my path.”
The Spirit or breath of God is immediately breathed into the newborn soul. The same breath that comes from God also returns to God. As it is continually received by faith, so it is continually rendered back by love, prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Love, prayer, and praise are the breath of every soul that is truly born of God. By these, spiritual life is not only sustained but increased day by day.
The eyes of his understanding are now open, seeing the One who is invisible. He clearly perceives the pardoning love of God toward him and all His exceeding great and precious promises. His ears are now opened, and the voice of God no longer calls in vain. He knows the voice of his Shepherd—he hears and obeys the heavenly calling.
All his spiritual senses being now awakened, he has a clear communication with the invisible world. He now knows what the peace of God is: joy in the Holy Spirit and the love of God that is poured out in the hearts of those who believe. The veil is removed; there is nothing between the soul and the light, the knowledge and the love of God.
*From How to Pray: The Best of John Wesley on Prayer, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.
In this forty-second lesson on prayer, Wesley talks about the changes that come with the new birth; changes that continually continue to change us. He speaks of the fruit of love, prayer, and praise as “the breath of every soul that is truly born of God. By these,” he says, “spiritual life is not only sustained but increased day by day.” Wesley also teaches about the perception one can walk in because of the new birth.
The apostle Paul brings this out in Ephesians 1:18-21 as he prays, “18I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might 20which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come’ (NASB).
The new birth not only gives one hope in this life, but in the life to come. He is now able to see the life that awaits him with love, joy, peace, and anticipation in his heart. As Wesley says, “All his spiritual senses being now awakened, he has a clear communication with the invisible world. He now knows what the peace of God is: joy in the Holy Spirit and the love of God that is poured out in the hearts of those who believe. The veil is removed; there is nothing between the soul and the light, the knowledge and the love of God.
In Galatians 5:19-25 the apostle Paul contrasts works of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit that we should now, in ever increasing ways, be walking in, when saying:
“19Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, 21envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (NASB).