Today I am celebrating my first birthday, the day I was born to my parents, Lee and Donna Mann. I am sure that was a scary, challenging and exciting day for them. I am glad they chose to let me live, rather than “terminating the pregnancy.” I am thankful for 39 years of life. Each passing year has been a wonderful reminder of God’s great faithfulness and incredible provision for me in so many ways. And yet, I am reminded that I have another birthday that is even more significant.
My “second birthday” is April 1, 1996. That is the day that I came to a clear understanding of my sinfulness and need of a savior. I had been in church all my life. I had prayed a prayer of commitment at 8 years old. I had been baptized. I was active in attendance and service at our church and in our community. But, I knew that, in many ways, I was going through the motions of life rather than truly knowing God in a personal way and serving him out of a heart of love and worship.
It was that day I understood that God had created me to love and worship Him. But, because of my sinful heart, I worshiped other things rather than Him. Though I had an outward appearance of a “spiritual” person, I knew my heart was sinful and unchanged. I understood that my sin separated me from a Holy God and that there was nothing I could do to take away my own sin. I understood that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died a sacrificial death, was buried in a tomb, and resurrected on the third day, showing His power and victory over sin, death and the grave. That is the day I surrendered my life to Jesus Christ, repenting of my sin and, by faith, trusting in Jesus as the only Lord and Savior. This is the day I was “born again,” as Jesus told Nicodemus we must be if we want to receive eternal life. It was at this point that my life changed, where “old things passed away” and “all things became new” (2 Cor. 5:17).
God created us for life, to live our lives for His glory through worshiping and obeying Him. Our first birthday makes this possible. But, without a second birthday, a spiritual birthday, being “born again,” we will never live out the purpose for which God created us. In fact, as a result, we will die twice – experiencing physical death at the end of our physical life, and spiritual death, separation from the presence of God forever. Well did someone once say, “If we are born once, we will die twice. But, if we are born twice, we will only die once.” For those with two birthdays, eternal life begins at the point of trusting Christ. Physical death only ends our earthly existence but ushers us immediately into the presence of the One who gave His life for us so that we might live. As Paul reminds us, for those who are in Christ – those who have surrendered their lives to Him in repentance and faith – “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord” (2 Cor. 5:8).
So, the question is, “Do you have one birthday or two?” If you only have one birthday to celebrate, you can read the “The Story” to understand how you can have a second birthday, a spiritual birthday – being “born again.” If you would like, email me. I would love to share with you how I came to know Christ in a personal way and how you can know Him too.