Just a quick post –
In Christ alone, my hope is found, He is my life, my strength, my song.
I’m learning how to fully live in the hope of the resurrection. Sometimes I find myself lingering at the gates, even when they are wide open and I’m able to go right in and spend time in God. I’m waiting for the day when my joy is complete, and the unseen that I hope in is made visible to me, but for right now I’m learning that God is never the one who is holding back – but I’m the one who is holding myself back from experiencing God’s love.
If the picture you see puzzles you because you went the same church as me growing up, or because you know my story, well I decided to get baptized again last Sunday on Easter [kinda impulsively] at this church called Grace Midtown!!!! I’ve always regretted getting baptized in 2007, even though I know that baptism is an outward symbol of an inner conversion and all that theological stuff. I know that I am secure in Christ and nothing ever changes that, but man, what was my reasoning for getting baptized then?
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-14
Actually I wanted to get baptized [in 2007] because I didn’t want to be denied communion….
Anyhow, since 2007, the desire to get re-baptized has always lingered in the back of my mind. I knew that I didn’t need to, and that the baptism still showed that God is working in me despite my selfish motives for getting baptized, but I still wanted to get re-baptized.
Coming into Covenant, I had so much head knowledge, but I lacked heart knowledge. As one Professor Dr. Madueme would sympathize with, I knew theology but failed to live out the theological implications. But in the past few years, never has the joy [& yet the cost] of following Christ been ever so evident. And I think it has only been in the past 3 years that I can declare that Christ is Lord in my life. I think I’m seeing myself change and it’s a beautiful thing. Once upon a time in middle school I watched a skit about God chiseling us [sanctification], and I can see that God is chiseling me. But God is also showing me how He loves me, because I don’t think I’ve believed it until now.
Like I said, God has been moving in me since when I decided to be baptized in 2007 so I wouldn’t have to keep passing the communion plate every month, but only recently has the veil been removed from my eyes and I have been able to see the beauty of the Gospel and the joy that is found in Jesus.
But I think I am most assured of my identity in suffering. From seasons of constant despair. From the times when I feel like I am not loved in the present, and that I will never be loved. From wanting to give up and looking for the easy way out. But guys, these times are when I’ve felt the warmth of Jesus the most. This is when I’ve been assured that I am a daughter of God – nothing will ever separate me from this identity. That I’m able to seek joy even when I don’t desire to because the Holy Spirit is holding my hand – nothing will ever separate me from this relationship.
Man, the devil doesn’t want me to write this right now! But what a joy it is to live in the presence of the Holy Spirit. I’ve been realizing that my joy is apart from my circumstances and my emotions. My joy is because I know that God is still good, and that’s going to affect how my life & hopefully overflow so that others would be reminded of the goodness of God.
So when I got baptized that night, I was asked to answer the following question for a thousand of my closest friends in the room:
Why do you want to be baptized?
I said into the microphone,
I am no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.
And I’m going to remember that because Christ has set me free. The key of the prison door that he locked is lost, so I can’t step back into that prison door.
After I shared, it was time. Matt and Rob prayed over me, then I went into the water, and came out – refreshed, refocused, renewed, and ever so confident of my identity in Christ. And I took the Eucharist afterwards.
In Christ alone, my hope is found! He is my life, my strength, my song!
[Sorry about all of you who think believer’s baptism is a sin]
[Note to others: You don’t need to be re-baptized. But you need to be confident of your identity as a son or daughter of God, that God saved you as a dead man and adopted you into His family. You need to be confident that nothing will ever separate you from His love.]
[I wrote all of this to preach to myself tonight. In Christ alone, my hope is found.]