John answered them all, “I baptize you with water, but One is coming who is more powerful than I. I am not worthy to untie the strap of His sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” Luke 3.16
I’m getting baptized. On Sunday.
I tell friends, family and acquaintances about it and I get the strangest looks and asked why? I was baptized as a baby…
That’s just it. I was a baby. It was more of a dedication/promise for my parents; that they would raise me in obedience to God, teaching me His ways. I don’t remember it.
Confirmation came when I was in high school. I went through the class, on my own, just like every other high school sophomore before me (16 was the average age of those who had gone through confirmation at the church I grew up in), but my reasons for doing so differed from the others my age. You see, I grew up in a church that followed the rules and did certain things because you “had to.”
Part of my testimony, my personal journey with Jesus, includes the lie that having anything to do with this world buys one a one-way ticket to hell and getting a public school education wasn’t any different. I went through that confirmation class to spite those who believed it to be true… I went through it to prove that I, a young woman tarnished by the ways of the world, would not be struck dead by God. I believed, on some level, that there was more to following Jesus than what I had been taught. Oh, how I’m still learning!
Anyway, back to the topic at hand.
Baptism. Immersed in water. Baptism as the Bible teaches.
I’ve never been immersed before…well, unless you count my brother dunking me in the wave pool at Wild Water West when we were kids, but I digress.
Baptism is a ceremony in which a person is immersed in water…to be dipped completely. It is not a means to salvation. I know I’ve been saved by the grace of Jesus. I believe that with all my heart. So, why be baptized?
- I want to be an example of Jesus. I want to do more than make the claim. I want to live it in every way. Baptism shows that. Jesus Himself was baptized, but not as an expression of repentance (See Mark 1.9-11).
- Scripture also commands it. I am so deeply in love with my God that I want to honor Him by being intentional about my obedience to Him. He’s not forcing me to do it. He’s asking me to. I get to. I want to. Wrap your mind around those two words with me for a moment:
Not because I “have to.”
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit – Matthew 28.19
I want to live that out.
Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Acts 2.38
Baptism is an indispensable part of the disciple-making process. I’ve been called to be a part of that process. Granted, I’ve been slow in discovering that I don’t need to be an overseas missionary to live that out. I already do…on a daily basis. Through work. Through my personal life. Through engaging in conversations with my neighbors across the hall. It occurs over coffee with a new friend or an old acquaintance. I do so through living my life the way Christ calls me to and not through being a Sunday-morning Christian. Walking with Jesus is a daily, moment-by-moment choice that I get to make; this taking up my cross and following Him…daily. In choosing to do so, my life is so much fuller than I could have asked for or imagined. Blessings beyond what I would have given myself had I been left in charge! Thank God for the grace He’s given!
- Baptism is the pattern of the New Testament Church. Since I’m a part of that body of believers, I want to take part in that pattern (see Acts 2.41).
Which brings me to my next question: Why do I personally want to be baptized?
- Baptism encourages me to live a life of obedience. I cannot choose which commands to obey and which ones I wish not to obey. Choosing to follow Jesus is choosing to follow all of Who He is, not picking which parts I like best and tossing the rest. I’m all in.
- Baptism symbolizes Jesus’ cleansing me from sin. I don’t have to live life chained to my flesh. Jesus died to save me from that and I can live in freedom, having the strength I need to turn from temptation and moving beyond the point of committing that sin. Being immersed in water is a metaphor, a picture rather, of dying with Him and being resurrected to new life when I come back up. Beautiful imagery!
And now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash yours sins away, calling on His name. Acts 22.16
- Baptism initiates Christian fellowship. Now…it’s not like I’ve lived the last 28 years of my life disconnected from this. With my upbringing, I didn’t feel the need or understand the “why” of being baptized as an adult. It’s more than a symbol of my commitment to Jesus (I do!). It’s also a symbol of my commitment to the body of Christ. It says “I’m in this!” to the rest of the believers, especially those who play a role in the same part of the body that I do, whether that be His hands, His feet, His ears or His mouth (etc.).
- Baptism is a public confession of Christ. I will acknowledge Him before men and I am not afraid of what this world could/can do to me. He’s been wooing me since I was four and has captivated my heart at every turn. How could I not proclaim that I love Him; that I am His?
“Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10.32-33
- It’s also an opportunity to humble myself before God. I want nothing more than for His name to be on the lips of every man, woman and child (all of creation, really) in everything He calls me to do in this life for His glory. Not I. But Him who lives in me.
Jesus gave His life for me. I confess that He is Lord of my life and I choose to give Him my life for His glory while I walk this terrestrial planet (thank you Beth Moore for that phrase…it’s so befitting in regards being in this world). After all, it’s all I can do in return and it’s what He asks of me. May my life continuously point to Him in everything I do.
**For those of you who know me personally and follow this blog, you are more than welcome to come celebrate on Sunday morning. Service starts at 9:30 AM on the beach and brunch will follow. Address for the park: East Medicine Lake Park, Plymouth MN 55441