Birthdays are usually special occasions in our lives. They are benchmarks that define us. Some birthdays we accept with joy and excitement, while others are hard, unmemorable, and maybe even forgettable.
My “birth” day took place on a miserably hot summer day in a hospital without air conditioning! My mom had a tremendously hard time having me, as I weighed 9 lbs. 13 oz. and was 21 inches long. My dad thought I looked like a football player! I managed to arrive in this world like most, with a cry and a joyous sigh from my mom!
Making birthdays special in our family was important. Favorite pie, homemade ice cream, and sharing it with friends and family marked the day. In my own life, three birthdays stand out as extra special: The first being my sixteenth birthday when my husband gave me a dozen yellow roses; the second, a surprise 50th birthday party; and the third, a hot-air balloon ride given to me by my husband, kids, and grandkids on my 60th birthday.
All of our birthdays are important but not as important as our “spiritual birthday.” That “spiritual birthday” takes place the moment we surrendered our lives and heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. At that same moment, another significant birthday takes place as well: we become a part of God’s family and a member of His “Church” – God’s “Iglesia” or called-out ones!
Spiritual birthdays are the benchmarks that give our lives reference points, value, usefulness, and eternal worth. They are to be celebrated, joyous, and of significant importance, not only to us personally, but to all around us. Those spiritual birthdays should be filled with praise and glory to the One who bought us with His own life, forgave our sin, gave us eternal life and the Holy Spirit.
Jesus said in Luke 15:4 – “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost! I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.”
Then again in Luke 15:10 – “I say to you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
God wants us to focus on what we do have, not on what we don’t! He has given us some absolutely, positively amazing gifts! The first and foremost being our salvation and spiritual birthday. The second one being a Church family – people to share life’s experiences, joys, sorrows, and to pray with and for.
This became the benchmark for the first Church in Acts chapters 1 and 2:
“They, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as were saved.”
On that first birthday of the Church, those 120 believers realized they needed each other. They knew strength and encouragement would be found in God and each other. In Acts 5:38 and 39 Gamaliel, a Pharisee, gave a statement to the Council in Jerusalem, when some of the first Church members were on trial:
“For if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to naught; but if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it.”
Jesus told Peter that “even the gates of Hell could not prevail against His church.”
As we strengthen and undergird each other, we will find God undergirds us. We derive strength, not only from God, but from each other. It has been said, “One rod of iron can be broken, but several put together are almost unbreakable.”
Celebrating these two “birthdays” in our lives should be a daily occurrence and one we share with others!
The question is, have we invited those within our sphere to the party? Have they heard our spiritual story?
The first Church lived in eager anticipation of what God could and would do through their love, faithfulness, and obedience. Because of the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives, the Word of God went forth into all the world. They listened and obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
Take a moment to think about the ramification of those first “called-out ones” and the choices they made. Because of their lives and the Word of God being spoken and lived by them, you and I have a “spiritual birthday.” Not only us, however, but thousands upon thousands of men, women, and children down through the ages who became “the church.” Wow!
If you don’t have a “spiritual birthday,” today is the day! Jesus and all of heaven are waiting to write your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life. It is a gift given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. We just have to accept the gift. It does not matter what you have done, where you live, your race, color, or financial status; it is free to all.
God’s Word tells us, “That if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13)
Oh, what an amazing God we can know, love, and serve!
“Thank you, Father God, for your amazing gift of salvation, and the church. Thank you for inviting me to your eternal, never-ending spiritual birthday party.”
“I am not saved so that I may be born again. I am born again that I may be saved.” (R. C. Sproul)
Kathy Niswender is the wife of our pastor.