There are sayings in many languages about the difficulty of changing long-established habits. In English, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In French, “Ce n’est pas à un vieux singe qu’on apprend à faire la grimace” (You can’t teach an old monkey how to pull a funny face). In Spanish, “El loro viejo no aprende a hablar” (An old parrot can’t learn to speak).

When Jesus told Nicodemus that he must be “born again” to “see the kingdom of God,” he replied, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” (John 3:3-4). Professor and author Merrill Tenney suggests that Nicodemus was saying, in effect, “I acknowledge that a new birth is necessary, but I am too old to change. My pattern of life is set. Physical birth is out of the question and psychological rebirth seems even less probable . . . . Is not my case hopeless?”

Jesus’ reply included these words, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (v.16). That is the offer of new life and a new beginning for anyone, young or old.

Whatever our age or situation in life, with God’s power, it’s not too late to change.