“Mommy”, Caleb whispered in his punch drunk sleepy voice, “tomorrow I get to be baptized”. I smiled through happy tears as I kissed his little white blond head and tucked the covers under his smile.
Last weekend Caleb was raised to walk in newness of life. He confidently received Jesus a while ago, and we have been waiting for his initiative to follow in baptism. We planned on making it part of our Easter celebration this year…enter Corona.
Our family was altogether at the lake, and it was the perfect time. He was baptized by Uncle Tom and Daddy. Both sets of grandparents got to be in attendance as well. We even had friendly, albeit loud, ducks in attendance.
Leading up to the actual event, Caleb was nervous about “being dunked”. He asked how long they would hold him under and if he needed to practice holding his breath.
"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that,
just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father,
we too may live a new life." Romans 6:4 NIV
All of us goes into the water in baptism so that we can be raised to walk in newness of life. Without the dunking there is no newness. We need to be completely immersed in the Holy Spirit before we can be transformed. But like Caleb, sometimes we are scared to be dunked. We fear God will hold us under and half drown us because we don’t understand Him. We don’t believe He really is Love. As justified as He would be He doesn’t drag us to the water kicking in screaming, He invites us. The important part of this verse in Romans that is read during most baptisms is that we are raised to walk in newness of life. We focus on the actual dunking part when what we should see is the newness, the endless chances, the reset button for all of our sins.
A holy, beautiful, loving and just God comes to us to take us out of our mess, and we look Him in the eye and say, "just my feet". "I’m willing to get my feet wet. Maybe up to my knees, but that’s good." We refuse to be dunked, to surrender. "I’ll give you Sundays, but the rest of the week is my time. Okay God, I’ll let you lead my conversations, but not my checkbook. I’ll take your forgiveness, God, but I’m not going to give it to others. I’ll keep your salvation for myself, but I’m not going to share it."
Jesus answered, "Unless I wash you, you have no part with me. Then, Lord," Simon Peter replied, "not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!" John 13:8&9 NIV
I want to wholeheartedly say with Peter, not just my feet but my whole body!
I don’t want to live in the halfway. I don’t want to be stuck somewhere between emotional and effective. I want all of me to be submersed in the Spirit so that I can walk in freedom from sin and experience a powerful,directed life. I want to taste fully of the newness that being “dunked” in the Spirit brings. I can't have that without surrender, not parts of me but all of me.
I’m asking God to show me what I’m keeping out of the water? What have I been unwilling to submerse and let die so that I can be raised to walk in newness of life?
What are you keeping out? It’s keeping you from newness.