“You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things?” John 3:10 (NIV) Nicodemus had the Old Testament Scriptures, not the New. The words “born again” do not occur in the Old Testament. But Jesus makes it clear that a person with the Old Testament should be...
“The Lord said to me, ‘Say to them, Do not go up or fight, for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.’” Deuteronomy 1:42
Once the people realized that they had messed up, they decided to try and put it right. They decided they would go up to Canaan after all.
But God warned them, “Don’t go up, because I will not be with you. You will be defeated by your enemies.” Yet they insisted on going up in their own strength, and they were completely defeated (1:41-46).
You may realize that you are totally messed up: “Yes, I see it. I am a rebel against God. I treat God with contempt. I blame others for what’s wrong in my life. I resist the truth. I refuse to believe. I am under the wrath of God. What hope is there for me?” So perhaps you decide to turn over a new leaf and try to put things right in your own strength.
But turning over a new leaf won’t work, because turning over a new leaf doesn’t change you. Becoming religious won’t alter what’s in you. Trying harder is never the answer. All that happens, when you turn over a new leaf, is that what’s in you gets written on a new page.
Do you ever mess up and then try to “fix it” by trying harder? Why?