Laying aside the old nature and putting on the new is the only thing that can help us in these times. It is a matter of the Spirit - a matter of the rule of spirits. Outward things do not matter. It is the inner things that have power, because behind all outward powers stand spiritual forces. So if we ask ourselves in what direction our lives should proceed, then there is only one question that matters. Which spirit will rule over us - the spirit of the world or the spirit of God? We face the great either/or, God or the devil, Christ or Satan. Jesus is the only one who can effect a change in us - Jesus, who lived amongst us and who uncovered and unmasked our hypocrisy. Only he can change and transform all things. But we can come under his rulership, under the authority of his Spirit, only through the great upheaval of repentance. The new birth of which he spoke to Nicodemus, the old man who came to him in the night, is repentance. And repentance is a complete revolution of life. It is conversion from the spirit of darkness to the spirit of
light, redemption from all constraints and servitude, from all error and delusion. But we should not worry about how this revolution will penetrate the cultural and political life before we ourselves arrive at it quite personally…
The great agitation in the world of today makes it more and more urgent to gain inner strength in those quiet encounters with Christ that make it possible for us to remain under his rule and authority. Situated as we are
in the midst of a world that is so terribly unpeaceful, we need constant nourishment for our inner life. It is important to look beyond confining externals... Instead of following the alien spirits of hatred and violence, of
lying, impure, and greedy possessiveness, we must follow the one spirit who alone is stronger than all other spirits...
REBIRTH OF HEART
Without a rebirth in our hearts, we will glean from fluctuating world events either a false meaning - based on material considerations or on emotional or racial ties - or no meaning at all. The course of history is interpreted falsely by very many, in the interests of their own nation or society. For most people, though, it never has any meaning at all. There is only one possible way of bringing this confusion to an end: the whole person, for the whole of life, must undergo a complete about-face toward the kingdom of God. Rebirth is the only name we can give to such a radical change - to the complete opposite of our former life. Only through such a complete change can we see in all that happens the approach and intervention of God’s rule. We can never see the kingdom of God, or have any part in it, without a rebirth of heart; without breaking down the whole structure of our life and then making a completely new start. Only a new beginning that proceeds
from the very bottom - a rebirth that goes back to the root - can prepare us for the kingdom of God. We need a new foundation for our entire personal life. If we want to avoid suffering inward shipwreck in the storm of public opinion and chaos, then our hidden inner being needs daily the quiet haven of communion with God.