Baptism
by Erin Puckett

~ Some people generally think teenagers and young adults aren't mature enough to understand and fully comprehend the depth of Christ's sacrifice. Yet during your years as a teenager and as a young adult you make some of the most important decisions concerning your future. Wouldn't having the Holy Spirit and a close relationship with God benefit you through these trying and difficult times? Having been recently baptized (April 20th, 2002) I thought it would be helpful if I made a couple points about baptism and hopefully, answer some questions. 

~ Baptism should never be something someone pushes you into. Baptism is a symbolic act of turning your life over to Christ, repenting and being forgiven and, most importantly, the death of the old person and the birth of a new eager-to-seek-God Christian (a.k.a. change). It should never be faked or done simply because you think you are of age or someone else tells you that you are. It is an outward sign of true conviction and intent and should be taken seriously. But along with this, I encourage you not to fear being baptized simply because you are young. If you truly do seek change in your life and can see that God's ways are truth and happiness, don't let fear or someone telling you that you're too young prevent you from following God and giving Him your life. 

~ Count the cost. This term is used and emphasized so often for a reason. There are costs and there are responsibilities. Once you accept Christ as your Teacher, Lord and Savior you are responsible for obeying and listening to Him. You can no longer blame your sins on ignorance or your upbringing. Christ gave us a perfect example. He also gave us encouragement, comfort and a way to know Him better through the Bible. It is our responsibility and our joy to read and learn through this book. And not only that, but to live as God has commanded us. Life is about overcoming and it is about struggling and succeeding. In baptism you accept this and you also accept and begin to apply, if you haven't already, the principle of self-government. Most people think of persecution when they think of counting the cost, and this will come also, but we shouldn't forget about the daily battle we fight with Satan and our own sinful nature and the command to overcome both. 

~ There is a reward. Really, we should obey God simply because he is perfect and he gave us life but he is so awesome that he has promised us a reward. Not just in the kingdom of heaven and the restoration of the earth (which is enough as it is) but also in every day. He promises us comfort and strength, guidance and love and even his Holy Spirit. And, he rewards us with happiness, contentment, peace of mind and joy. He wants goodness and happiness for us and knows us well enough to see that through trials and tribulation we will learn to appreciate these things. There is reward in every week of hard, honest work; in every hour we listen to someone's troubles; in every minute we show mercy and patience, and in every second we extend love. In striving to please God, we learn to be happy and content and soak up the little things in life. And when we are lowly and downtrodden we can always look to the future promise of a time when there will no longer be any suffering and a time when we needn't search for God because He will always be near. 

~ Choose life. God has given us a choice through the sacrifice of his perfect son, that we may have eternal life and be with him one day. In choosing eternal life you also choose a mortal life in which there is hope, promise and purpose. You also choose to obey God and to follow him. Choosing life leads you to choose happiness and God. 

~ You will never be perfect so don't wait. You will never overcome without God's spirit and you will never know real love without first knowing the true and perfect love of God, the creator of love. If you are thinking about being baptized I strongly recommend you read the Gospel of John all the way through, taking time to really understand what is occurring and what it means. It will help you better understand Christ and his purpose and how He knows what you're going through. Only you, besides God, know your heart, so search it thoroughly and pray for guidance.
 

Excerpted from More Than That September, 2003

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