In the still of the night, more than any other time, my flesh begins to crawl. No, not like that…not the spooky afraid of the dark sort of thing. I’m referring to flesh in the biblical sense…those old memories, those hauntings, those willowy vestiges of a man long since dead. You know, the memories still lodged in my brain from a time before my Nic at Night moment.
Do you know about Nicodemus? You can read about him in The Gospel of John, chapter three. He came to Jesus during the night and this happened…
” ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.‘
Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.‘
‘How can someone be born when they are old?’ Nicodemus asked. ‘Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”
Jesus answered, ‘Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.‘ ”
I’m not sure about Nicodemus, but I took Jesus at his word and my world changed. I changed. I was born again. Old habits died off. Old yearnings went away. Supernatural change was afoot. I received a new Spirit…but not a new body. My body is not yet redeemed. The brain can still process junk…if I allow it. This is the crawling flesh to which I refer. And, in the still of the night, the hauntings of the past arise. Slowly at first. Being tired, I sometimes fail to rush to the breech. I forget all I need do is submit to the Lord, listen for his word, and rest. If I linger too long sin finds an approach. My thoughts become my worst adversity. Then I pray…
Then I pray…and this happens…the word of God comes from the Spirit of God. Oh no, don’t misunderstand. It’s not inspiration. It’s not a “new word from the Lord.” It’s his word given by prophet, apostle, or Jesus himself and left for us in the Bible. When the flesh crawls his word is the last thing I look for or think of, but then the real me, my new spirit, once again becomes witness to the Holy Spirit testifying within me that I’m not that person anymore. I’m a child of God. Words like “It is good to give thanks to the Lord and to sing praises to your name, O Most High; to declare your lovingkindness in the morning and your faithfulness by night” (Psalm 92:1,2) begin to pour in. His word. His will. Meant for me…for peace…in the still of the night.