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“My born again experience and story of my spiritual growth”

by Church Times
Being born again is a mystery. It was meant to be a mystery, and those who have genuinely experienced it will tell you it is. It isn’t a mere stepping up in religiosities.
It isn’t adding some commitments to church attendance and membership. It is a spiritual rebirth and newness that’s difficult to explain except you experience it yourself.

Nicodemus, whom Jesus called the teacher of Israel couldn’t understand it. How does one get born again, is it to reenter into one’s mother’s womb and be reborn? Of course not.

It is a spiritual experience beyond the person though with the permission of the person to rework the person spiritually and alter the person’s life with clear evidence of change in the mentality and the person’s perspective on life.

 I was a truant

I was only 16 in 1983 when I was born again. Though born into a lineage of missionaries and priests, and had been involved in the religious culture and practices, I was living in sin right in all the system.
The secondary schools I attended were with a very heavy religious slant. The first was of the Evangelical Church of West Africa, ECWA, the other, though a public school tilted more to the Anglican Church. But then, I loved those religious activities attached.
My first attempt at giving my life to Christ happened at the first secondary school I attended. It happened at a chapel service one Sunday evening, I’d answered to an altar call.
What happened didn’t record anything on my mind. By the second day, I’d forgotten I  had decided to follow Christ the previous day. From there on I started getting involved with the truants in school and always getting into trouble.
I began to miss classes. And since I did not have a traceable bed space in the boarding house, nobody could track me. I got into bad habits through the influences of strange companies, stopped attending chapel services and I started struggling with my academics.
My truancy meant that I was having issues with my seniors, particularly my immediate seniors, who threatened to deal with me when they became prefects. I decided never to return to the school. I didn’t.

I changed school

I resumed form 3 in another secondary school. I’d not changed but it was a smaller community compared to my former school. I had my cousins there, the principal was my uncle’s friend and school mate.
The boarding house had only 3 sets of classes, my set and two senior sets. It was really small compared to my former school. Everyone seems to know everyone, truancy wasn’t that easy and everyone seems to be quite serious with academics.
Yet, within a few weeks, I was given a nickname, Wilson Tagbo, a character in a novel they’d read in the past year titled, One Week, One Trouble.
Despite the change in school, I remained who I was. A very good boy on the outside but a hothead and lustful soul. I got into drinking and fornication as young as I was.
I didn’t take my studies too seriously. I could do better than I was doing. I lived a pretentious life as close-knit as the school was. But I did not get into trouble with the authorities until the first term of my last year which happened to be the school’s Thanksgiving Day.

My suspension and then my conversion

I was suspended along with some of my friends. That was December 1983. It was a big deal because up until then, I can’t recall if anyone in my generation from both my father’s and mother’s sides had been suspended from school.
We did all kinds of things including visiting a witch doctor to see how we could escape harsh punishments, but none worked. I had to go home on suspension which gave me time for reflection.
Somehow, as I’d often done, I glanced through my late dad’s library and a book by Oral Roberts caught my attention. I decided to read through since I didn’t have much doing. I had no school notes, I’d not been writing notes in class. But I decided to read that book. It was titled ‘I believe in Miracles’.
Up until that moment, I didn’t know much about being born again, though I’d answered an altar call I did not take seriously. It took me years later to relate what happened that night at the chapel in my school because I did not reckon with the decision.
But then I decided to read the Oral Robert’s book. And that was it. I became born again just by reading the book. There was something about the book that made so much impact on me. I knew something I couldn’t explain happened to me as soon as I began to read the book.

My life was transformed supernaturally

I regretted my sins and past life. I decided to see what I could do to change. But the changes I saw from then on were beyond me. Something had happened to me.
My girlfriend couldn’t believe what happened. My life turned around 180 degrees. I thought differently. I became so happy at an amazingly different level. I took the punishments meted to me in school with joy when I returned.
We were made to clear a virgin jungle for a Palm tree plantation. We were beaten openly in the school chapel at a special assembly. I took all the pains of punishment with joy.
I started going to the library for the first time in my life. I started going to the laboratory after school to do my Physics experiments. I took a new interest in reading.
I read the Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Pearle at the library and it gave me an understanding of the power of the scriptures in daily life. Sin stopped in my life.
It was an amazing time, though I had no one to follow me up. I became close to two very serious colleagues of the same name who were also having their own experiences. It helped my academics tremendously.
It was the term of our final exams which we passed. If they were already going ahead to pass the exams, I wasn’t. I was in the woods until I had that experience. My Physics teacher didn’t believe I’d passed fairly. I couldn’t convince him because he was privy to all my escapades before I became born again. I knew that without divine intervention, I couldn’t have passed myself.

Bad habits stopped

The most amazing wasn’t my academics that changed, it was how bad habits had stopped in my life. My almost insatiable appetite for alcohol stopped instantly, and since then, except when I was mistakenly served an alcoholic wine for a nonalcoholic, I’d not tasted alcohol since that day.
I lost my appetite for alcohol completely. That wasn’t out of discipline or desire, it was the change I experienced from being born again. Yes, I struggled with lust later in my life, but it never took a toll on me. God always bailed me out every time. My outlook and desires for sin changed completely since that day and God had kept me since then.

Not theoretical

Being born again isn’t a theoretical thing. It is a real transformation of life. The Spirit of God takes you over and turns you into a new person with different desires and perspectives to life.
Most importantly, you develop a relationship with God through His Son and by His Spirit that takes over your destiny. A life that if one decides to follow through would lead to a glorious life here on earth and a marvelous promise of an eternity with God. Being born again doesn’t kill your decision-making. But it gives you a better option to live here now and eternally.
I have lived this life through all the accompanied challenges, pains, troubles, and hard choices, and I can say, after all the years that I have no regrets.
Most of the people who know my story are still alive today and they’ll probably read this and attest to it.
Many people don’t believe there’s anything called being born again or that what Jesus said about being born again amounted to nothing. When they give such verdicts, I can only laugh, because you don’t argue with people who don’t have your experience. After all, they don’t feel what you’re feeling.
People can live in a godless space with evidence that there is no God because they refuse to believe. Until you take God by faith, you won’t see or experience His reality. You have to accept Him by faith first.

Miracle of being born again

Being born again is a miraculous mystery beyond what a person can do for himself or herself through any religious activity. But it all begins with believing in Jesus Christ, in His life, teachings, death, and resurrection.
That’s a choice to make. We can’t jump over it if we desire to experience the new birth and the new creation. It is spiritual, it is supernatural and it is meant for everyone born into this life.
If you were born in the flesh, it is so that you can be born spiritually to complete your life circle. A butterfly shouldn’t die as a larvae or a caterpillar. It’ll be a waste. Think about it.

Jesus answered, 5“Truly, truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh is born of flesh, but spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I said, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes. You hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3v5-8

Pastor Emmanuel is the President of Grace Missions International Teaching Center, a non-denominational Christian Resource Center where Christians, ministers, and leaders are equipped to make necessary impacts in their churches and communities. He is also a member of Churches in Communities Nigeria, an international organization of ministers headed by Rev Hugh Osgood.

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