DAILY DEVOTIONALS BY PASTOR BILL MUIR
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When Good Isn’t Good Enough
By: Pastor Bill Muir
“Nicodemus said to him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 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[e] 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.” John 3:4-8
So here’s what I want you to hear: However “good” you are, you’re not as good as Nicodemus was. And that night, Jesus tells him all his righteousness isn’t enough. “You don’t need more righteousness on top of your pile, you need to start all over again with a new spiritual life. You’ve got to be born again.”
Let me give you another analogy. Let’s say you have a peach orchard, a big beautiful grove full of peach trees, and one day you look over it and say, “I’m going to start a business selling applesauce.”
You’ve got a bit of a problem, right? For all your gorgeous peach trees, you’re simply not going to make a drop of applesauce. So you say to yourself, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll just buy more land to grow more peach trees! And I’ll prune them all professionally, and water and fertilize them, and I’ll have applesauce before you know it.”
Well, that doesn’t work. So next you say, “I know what I’ll do. I’ll attach apples to the peach trees. I’ll get some wire and hang apples from the branches, soon enough all these will all be apple trees!”
It’s a silly picture. Is it any less silly to think we can become Christians by pruning back our sins? Or throwing righteous deeds on top of the pile?
You don’t need to stop swearing and start going to church. You need to start over. You need to pull up a bunch of peach trees and plant row after row of saplings that will one day grow into full, blossoming apple trees.
You need to get a life.
Nicodemus hears this message, and he understands it’s a game-changer. If this man, this Jesus of Nazareth, is telling the truth, then Nicodemus has a lot of thinking to do. It’s no wonder he responds, “How can these things be?”
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