To be or not to be…baptized?

The other night I finally acknowledged my weirdness. 

Most girls my age spend their time watching creative proposal videos (which to be clear there is nothing wrong with that and I’ve watched my fair share of flash-mob proposals). I, on the other hand, found myself enthralled by baptism videos. Seeing people moved by the Holy Spirit moves me to tears. Baptisms are such a beautiful representation of the transformation of one’s heart. If you ever need a “faith lift” just watch videos of lives changed and people deciding to leave the life they’ve known to follow Jesus. It doesn’t get more amazing than that. My mind began to wander to my recent baptism and the meaning in general behind it. On November 3, 2013 I was baptized at The River in The Colony, TX. Below is the email that I sent to my pastor leading up to my decision to be baptized and will explain exactly where my heart was in that moment followed by my post on Facebook the day of my baptism. This post is not in sync with how I usually write, but wanted to paint a picture of my personal baptism “journey.”

Hi Sherman,

You may or may not have noticed last night after you mentioned I had the spiritual gift of evangelism I got really quiet. I felt suddenly overwhelmed, surprised and fell deep in thought.

I remember sitting at a church sermon when I went to OU and the preacher talking about spiritual gifts. I was frustrated because it seemed like everybody always knew their spiritual gift and I had no clue. I hadn’t given it much thought until last night. Once, you said that, it was like everything clicked in my mind. It just made sense.  If you have a conversation with me chances are I will bring up Jesus, not because I want to shove religion down someone’s throat, just because he is such a part of my life. If you ask about anything in my life it’s always going to lead back to Him. I invite people to church now because I have experienced firsthand Jesus’ redemption and want that same experience for everybody else. I want everybody to be set free! Now, when I read the bible the stories speak to me. I spend most of my time at work so naturally share my faith with believers and nonbelievers alike. I don’t mean to do it. It just happens. I can’t keep it in. I reach out to strangers on social media. People have reached out to me because of my Facebook posts. The change is evident to people. They may not know it’s Jesus, but they can see the change. I still want to do more. I know this is just the beginning and I will continue to grow and become more confident in Christ and my faith.

I wasn’t always comfortable with inviting people to church, and I definitely wouldn’t talk to nonbelievers about my faith like I do now. I was an introvert. I still have introverted tendencies, but I talk more now than I ever did (which I know is not always good because the tongue is wicked). He has just changed my heart and my life completely and it’s a great story to share. The old Tiffany had no identity and no identity in Christ. I didn’t know Jesus in the knowledge way and I definitely didn’t know my Jesus intimately. I let what everybody else tell me form who I thought Jesus was. I ran to men for acceptance and depended on them to love me when I should have ran to God. I couldn’t think on my own. I was weak and had a weak faith. I was bitter and resentful for the things that happened to me in the past. I was depressed, anxious, and worried about anything and everything. I had low self-worth. I was consumed by shame and guilt. I had no hope.  In short, I was miserable. Who I am hates who I’ve been, but who I’ve been has shaped me for the person I am today. It’s definitely bitter-sweet.

After I recommitted my life to Christ
I’ve had a feeling for a LONG time (even when I didn’t have joy) that God is going to use me in a big way. Lately, that feeling has gotten stronger. I still don’t know how, when or in what manner, but the feeling that God is going to use me in a big way is increasing. Amazing Grace has never meant more to me than it does now. I was blind and now I see. I was blind to my sin and to my disobedience to God. Now, I’m more aware and conscious. I have a heart now. It’s weird. When I watched the video of your mission trip I was ready to go right then and right there on a mission trip. Growing up I never wanted to do that. I couldn’t be that person to talk about their faith or lead someone to Christ. To me, that was impossible, unheard of and unimaginable.

This brings me to my last point, Pastor Sherman. For the past two weeks or so it’s been placed on my heart to get baptized. You bringing up the baptism and my spiritual gift just solidified my desire. I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my chest when you were talking about baptizing her. I even thought the same thing “just baptize me right now” but then the evangelist Tiffany said “wait maybe my baptism would bring people to church that normally wouldn’t attend.” I don’t know which voice to listen to, but I do know one thing. I want you to baptize me. I was baptized as a baby and thought that counted even after I accepted Christ into my heart in 6th grade. Like I said, I really had no knowledge of the Bible. I knew about two years ago that I SHOULD be baptized, but my pride and most importantly my FEAR kept me from making that decision. I felt like I didn’t deserve it. I felt like a fraud. Sherman, I’m still not perfect, but I’ve found a hope and joy that can only be found in Jesus. I’m not longer a victim of my circumstances. I am victorious. I’m a new creation in Christ and I’m ready to be baptized. 

My Facebook post on the morning of my baptism on Nov 3, 2013:

Every morning this is what I see in the mirror. As I surrender to God daily He reminds me that I am his daughter and He has set me free, redeemed me, paid the price. I was lost and now I’m found. I was the sheep that strayed from the path, but God pursued me. He never gave up. Once I reached the point of giving up, because I was exhausted and overwhelmed from my burdens, He picked me up in his loving arms and brought me back. He has restored me. I thought I was unworthy of His love. In my most prideful act, I decided the death of His son wasn’t good enough for my sin. Ridiculous, right? But to me the shame and guilt from my past weighed me down like an anchor and separated me from Christ. It took a loooooooooong time, but I’ve finally laid everything down at the cross. It’s no longer my sin to carry. God has washed me white as snow and chooses not to remember my past sins. Talk about mercy, forgiveness grace and LOVE! I am a slave to Jesus now. I choose to follow Him.

So should you be baptized? Definitely. Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17). It’s an outward action based on your inward belief. I think baptism is crucial as it models what sincere heart-felt faith looks like. That’s knowing in your heart that God loves you and sacrificed his son for your sins and because of his love you have decided to follow him, but in the Bible action often follows talk. Jesus didn’t just say he was going to heal someone. He did it. His words were always backed up with actions especially when he saw the faith that the person had. If you are like me, Jesus will tug on your heart. He tugged on my heart gently for a couple of years, but finally began a full out Tiffany-tug-of-war the night I finally realized and accepted my need to get baptized. No the baptism in itself will not change you exactly, but it was a catalyst for me to express to the world that I’d decided to follow Jesus. . Your faith is all about your HEART and your actions will be a reflection of your heart to the world.

To be or not to be baptized? That is the question. At one time I didn’t understand the importance of baptism, but to be honest I didn’t fully understand the importance of Jesus either.  Now, seeing baptisms brings my heart so much joy because I know the transformation that happened in that person’s heart to lead them to get baptized.  I would love to hear your stories or thoughts regarding baptisms. Dare to share in the comments below.

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