After five years of knowing, believing and growing in my Lord and Savior, I finally got baptized on Christmas Day last year.
It still feels somewhat surreal as I recall the day I declared my faith and was baptized at sea, with my friends and family watching on.
Yet it almost didn’t happen.
If you’d asked me a month or even two weeks prior to Christmas, I’d have shaken my head hesitantly and said, “Maybe next round . . .”
Even though I had accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in early 2012, proudly called myself His follower, and prayed and read His Word daily, somehow I still didn’t feel ready to take the step into the waters.
Maybe it was the fact that I was no longer riding on the spiritual high that came with first falling in love with Him.
Instead, as the daily grind of life soon took over, I ended up giving new excuses with the arrival of each Easter and Christmas: I was too stressed out by my studies and didn’t have the brain-space to join my church’s baptism class, I was bogged down by my thesis and struggling with depression . . .
Two weeks before Christmas—the last day on which we had to inform our church whether we wanted to be baptized—I bumped into an older sister-in-Christ from church.
“Are you getting baptized this Christmas?” she asked.
“I don’t think so,” I replied. “Maybe next time.”
“Well . . . I don’t feel ready.”
She looked me in the eye and said, “But you’ll never feel prepared enough for baptism—no one ever does.”
Her words rang in my ears, and that night I sought the Lord in prayer, confessing my reluctance. As I did so, He revealed to me that my excuse of not being ready enough for baptism actually disguised a deep-rooted and flawed conception of myself, and what I thought I needed to do—or had failed to do—as His follower.
Beneath all my excuses and at the heart of my hesitance, was a whisper that I wasn’t worthy enough. And this belief ignored the very crux of Jesus’ redemptive act on the cross:
“[B]ecause of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:4-9, emphasis mine)
By grace, not works
On our own merit, we will never be good enough, or ready enough.
But we have been called to be baptized by Jesus Himself (Matthew 28:19-20), because it is a symbolic act of identification with Christ (Romans 6:4). Once I understood this truth, I went to my church leader and told her I wanted to be baptized. I wanted to publicly testify of how God had saved and sanctified me over the last five years of my life.
Baptism is a sign of the beginning of your journey with God, rather than a sign of having arrived.
If you’re like me and haven’t yet been baptized for some reason or another, I encourage you to pray and ask the Lord to reveal if there are any lies or misbeliefs that may be holding you back.
After all, baptism is a sacrament instituted by Jesus and a reflection of God’s glory, grace and goodness—not a benchmark of our own worthiness or deservingness.
To learn more about baptism and the Lord’s Supper, check out this Discovery Series: https://discoveryseries.org/discovery-series/baptism-the-lords-supper/