Judgment. It’s something we all try to avoid. Even if we have good intentions and want to do the right thing, we still fear others’ judgment. We don’t like to give people room to interpret why we are doing what we’re doing. I know that if I can take away every chance for someone to think less of me, consider it done. This, however, was only part of the reason I never chose to be baptized as an adult in a “believer’s baptism,” yet a very powerful reason.
The other reason I never chose to get baptized was my own ignorance. I was baptized as a baby, in what my family thought was for the forgiveness of sins. Twenty years after my infant baptism, I realized that I wasn’t saved at that moment, but it was my new life in Christ that saved me. I had found freedom from my sin through the forgiveness found in Christ, and I knew I was going to heaven. But every time I saw a baptism, I wondered if I should do the same. I had read “one baptism” in the bible, so I didn’t really think it was necessary to do it again. Plus, I had been a believer for a few years now and was leading FCA at our university, so what would people think?
I had known some people who had gotten re-baptized because they had fallen off the wagon for a bit. They wanted to show the world, again, that they were recommitted to living out the calling set before them. I wouldn’t necessarily encourage someone to do that, but that’s irrelevant. I didn’t want to get baptized, years after my conversion, because I didn’t want people to think maybe I had fallen off track for a while and was recommitting. I didn’t want people to think I had some hidden dirt and was just now letting it all go.
Within the first year of attending c|Life, my husband and I heard a sermon on baptism, so that day we signed up to get baptized. I was excited, but I still allowed the enemy to fill me with fear. I wanted my parents to be there, but didn’t want them to feel like I was saying to them, “Your parenting was off. My way is right.” So I found a way to get them to travel eight hours and come to church with us, but I didn’t tell them we were getting baptized until we were pulling into the church parking lot.
Let me tell you, being baptized was one of the greatest experiences ever. It wasn’t about who was there, or who baptized me, but just the fact that I was being obedient in following an ordinance given by God. I experienced so much freedom that day, and it’s clearly because I decided to listen to the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I kept allowing fear to drive my decision to settle in my ignorance, and didn’t realize the burden I was carrying. Baptism isn’t supposed to be a burden, but a way to show the world our commitment to follow Jesus, a way to show our conversion, a way to show we have been washed of our sin and moved from death to life. Baptism was meant to be a blessing, yet we allow the enemy to create doubt and confusion and hold us back from stepping out.
If you’re a believer, don’t wait! There is freedom every time we choose to follow God’s word and commands. Jesus died for you to experience abundant life, so don’t settle for less!
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free[b]from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God.
— Romans 6:3-10