Why is a dunking in water so important to Christians?
I remember the day well, it was in the Summer of 1997. I was in year 5 of Goldsworth primary school. It was the school swimming gala day. As I slid into the cold pool and got into my starting position ready for the Year 5 boys breaststroke race the nerves were in full motion but I knew this was my race, I knew I had the chance to win, I knew it would be worth it at the end.
I got a great start. Keeping my eye on the finish line the whole time, the strokes got quicker and quicker and the breathing came to a stop altogether as I hoped for victory. I touched the end of the pool looked around to see others had finished as well and then was given a lump of wood with ‘1st’ displayed on it! I’d done it, the nerves had gone, I’d got my team a first place and my confidence in my swimming had soared.
Why do I tell you this story? Is it because baptism is exactly like racing in a swimming gala? Not at all but there are a few similarities and some important things to understand about baptism. Mainly that they both involve water. Here, though, I’m going to look at five of the most common reasons young people don’t want to get baptised.
1. I don’t feel ready yet
Jesus said “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”, in John 14:15. Baptism is a command from Jesus, he’s told all believers to do it. The question is not then “am I ready?” but a more serious do you love Jesus and will you show that through obedience to him? There’s no need to wait until you feel He speaks to you – he already has. If you’re feeling too young to get baptised know that your obedience is important to God. He wants your heart and your age is irrelevant – there are countless people in the Bible who God used at a young age!
2. There’ll be loads of people watching. What if I mess up?
The church is the family of God. Every person in that place is loving seeing you get baptised. They are all for you. If you mess up your words or slip in the pool, that’s all good. Everyone is still celebrating with you and passionately excited for all God’s done in you and wanting to still do through you. I'll be honest with you, like the swimming gala or anything else there's always people watching - the question is will you display boldness and obedience?
3. I don’t have an amazing testimony
At the end of the day, all testimonies are the same – we are sinners who God, for some amazing reason, has chosen to show His grace to us and reveal His love and forgiveness to. You’re testimony is an amazing story of God’s faithfulness and God’s mercy, nothing that you’ve done or deserved. Your story is an encouragement to many and is just as amazing as the repentant murderer or anyone else.
4. I was christened as a baby
We believe a decision to follow Jesus is a personal decision, not one made by your friends or family. Therefore, obedience to Jesus is something you must decide and act on. Jesus said in Mark 16:16, “whoever believes and is baptised will be saved”. It’s a personal response to Jesus.
5. I don’t need to.
Having read the verse above and plenty of other passages in the Bible, it’s a clear instruction and expectation of Jesus that we do it. It represents our dying to our old self and our new life in Christ and is a symbol of our obedience and our unashamed love for God. More and more I’m seeing that baptism releases people into greater depths of the treasures of knowing God.
Baptism is not like preparing for a big race, it’s actually part of the race God’s put in front of you to run. There’s plenty here to be thinking about but more importantly acting on. Why not chat further with your connect group leader or myself if you’ve still got questions.
Loving & praying for you always!