“Baptism, I don’t need that I am already saved.” This was a common belief that I had held onto for a long time during my early Christian walk on avoiding publicly being immersed by water. Another conflict inside of me was I felt that because I was baptized as an infant, I was covered and did not need to do it as an adult. With all of this held deeply inside of me, baptism was always an issue that I struggled with as an adult and tried in vain to justify not doing.
Nevertheless, God had other plans.
See, for a long time early on in our marriage, Nikki and I were not regular church attenders. We would hop and hop from church to church, not ever feeling really connected, or finding some excuse not to go. It was not until the summer of 2006 that Nikki and I felt that we had found a church family in Christian Fellowship Church (CFC). From there we got involved in a Young Marrieds Bible Study and really started pouring into the word of God on a regular basis, began meeting and hanging out will fellow Christian couples, and attending church on a regular basis. It was also during this time where I felt God really reaching out to me about baptism.
I had seen adult baptisms before. For example, my wife Nikki was baptized at our church in Dayton while we were attending college at Wright State. In fact, it was during this time, early in my walk with Jesus, that I began seeing my struggles with the issue with baptism. I remember telling my wife that, “You know, baptism does not save you.” And while this is true, I was missing the point on why Nikki was preforming this act. It was not accepting Jesus as her Lord and master (she had already made that decision early on freshman year in college), it was making a public decree to our congregation at the time, that she was submitting to the will of God and wanted the support of our Christian family.
Fast forward to 2010 at CFC, we were firmly connected to a new Christian family, and I was being confronted with baptism again. Baptism is a focal point at CFC and something regarded as a major heart felt decision when undertaking. There are classes and meetings with pastors before someone goes through this process. However, one spring Sunday there was a change to the process. As Pastor Mike was telling the congregation about baptism and how it is a public act of submitting to Gods will, I felt overcome with the urge to be a part of that. Pastor Mike continued to say that this time they were going to do something different and allow people who felt led to meet with an elder in the back and take part in today’s baptism. It was at this point that he asked the congregation to pray and for those being baptized to come to the back of the sanctuary.
I could not stay seated! I felt a literal pulling on my body to get up and take part in this act and I submitted to God at that point and let him take control. I had come to realize that it was my lack of humility that kept me from truly experiencing God. I had to give that insecurity over to Him and be willing to submit totally to His Will.
I remember pulling my cell phone, wallet, and keys out of my pocket and handing them to Nikki. My wife looked at me in shocked and said, “What are you doing?”
The only reply I had was, “Getting baptized.”
When I made it to the back, I prayed with an elder and told him why I was there. Now please know, I did not come with a change of clothes or a towel and the only thing they could find to fit me was a choir gown. Without hesitation, I took it and walked down to the water where I was greeted with open arms by Pastor Mike. I told my testimony up to that point and was baptized feeling overcome by the Holy Spirit.
After this act of submission, I cannot say that everything became easier in my walk with Jesus. However, I can say that when I feel like I am struggling or stagnate in my walk, I can always recall this incredible moment in my life where God was very much present and took care of my doubts and insecurities.