But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13)
All of us want to be considered His sons and daughters and we understand that requires that we be born again. What we sometimes overlook is the fact that, once born again of the incorruptible seed – the Messiah – we must endure a process that molds us into His children. Notice that the Scripture says, those who receive Him are given the right, which is the power and ability, “to become the children of God.” “To become” insinuates that there is a process one must go through to become a child of God, which is to say, conformed to His image.
Consider that for a child to be conceived, the mother must be impregnated by the male seed; when that occurs, life begins. Instantaneously, the woman becomes a mother and the man a father. Though the child is living and growing within the womb, at that early stage it is not ready to make its appearance in the world; it’s neither equipped or prepared and, consequently, it wouldn’t survive. The child must go through the God-ordained process over the next 40 weeks in order “to become” that man or woman the Creator has determined it to be. The climax of this process is the required travail and pain of labor which serves as the sign that the child will soon appear.
Let’s examine this process from the child’s point of view. The womb is all that the baby has ever known. It’s a familiar place that has provided nourishment, comfort and safety. The mother’s womb provides everything the child needs in order to develop and “become” the son or daughter of the parents. When the contractions come and the travail begins, it’s not likely that the baby wants to exit the womb. In fact, that’s probably one of the purposes served by the contractions; they more or less force the baby into the birth canal, which is emblematic of a straight and narrow path. Once the mother’s water breaks, the baby must be born. To remain in the womb would result in the baby’s death; the womb would become its tomb. For the child to live and become what God intends it to be, it must emerge and separate itself from everything it’s ever known.
The Creator referred to His people as His first-born son (Exo. 4:22). Through the Prophet Hosea, He had this to say:
“When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son.” (Hosea 11:1)
For the nation of Israel, Egypt was the womb. The patriarch Jacob, the seed of Abraham, goes down into Egypt with 70 souls. It is there that they grow, multiply and later emerge as a nation of 2 to 3 million people. When God called them out of Egypt, it was by great signs and wonders – the plagues – which might be equated to birth pangs. As He called them forth from the womb, Exodus 14 records that He brought them to a place called “the mouth of the gorges” which placed them at the shore of the Red Sea. To lead them to “the mouth of the gorges,” suggests that He first led them through the gorge, which amounts to a “straight and narrow path.” With a blast from His nostrils, He divided the waters of the Red Sea or you might say He caused the water to break. Bringing them out from Egypt hints as what the prophet said in a way we may have never before imagined: He called His son to come forth from Egypt as a child would emerge from its womb.
What has this to do with us? Consider that since our born again experience, for the most part, we have been developing in the “womb.” We’ve been nurtured in a relatively safe, comfortable and familiar environment. As we observe the dramatic changes in the world, it’s beginning to feel very uncomfortable, uncertain and its look extremely unfamiliar. Outside of what we’ve always known, there is no frame of reference for something else and so might it be that the Creator has to allow these uncomfortable changes in the same way the baby experiences contractions?
Corporately, we’re feeling the contractions that are forcing us to separate from what we’ve always felt comfortable with and be squeezed into the place God wants us to be. These things must be if we are to become the sons and daughters of God. Remember, to those who received Him, He gave them the right, the power and ability, to become the sons of God. As we are being conformed to the image of the Son of God, let us not hold on to those things that we deem as familiar and safe, but let us trust Him to deliver us from the womb that it does not become our tomb. He is calling forth His sons and daughters into a glorious destiny.