Those who believed what Peter said were baptized and added to the church that day—about 3,000 in all. - Acts 2:41
This weekend we celebrated my best friend’s twenty second birthday. We dressed in some of our finest dresses, put on a killer smoky eye, and went out to dinner. We ordered four rolls of sushi, crab rangoon, and deep fried ice cream. Future careers, men, and Jesus were, as usual, the center of our conversations. We laughed, danced, and moaned over our full bellies.
When we got home, my friend asked me if I would sing her “Happy Birthday” with my boyfriend accompanying me on guitar. Timid and reluctant, I refused. After a few more begs, I finally did. Because at the end of the day, singing “Happy Birthday” to Emma had nothing to do with me. It had nothing to do with how good or bad my voice was or if I was pitch perfect with my boyfriend. It mattered that I sang celebration over her, because I was doing just that: celebrating her. It was her life, her 22 years, her birthday. It was not about me.
Here is the tough, humbling, and ever-so-beautiful truth: baptism is not about you. Taking that next step to profess your love for Jesus publicly has nothing to do with how “good” you are. It has nothing to with how many friends you have, how many church services you attend, how many communions you take, or how white you can get your perfectly pressed dress on a Sunday morning.
It's about Jesus. It's about declaring your love for him to the Church and the world. Can you imagine if I told Emma I couldn't sing her “Happy Birthday” because I felt too unworthy? It no longer would have been about celebrating Emma’s life, but about my hurts, habits, and hang-ups.
Time and time again in Scripture Jesus shows us just how much it's not about us. Matthew was a tax collector, hated by many, and commanded by Jesus to follow Him anyway. Peter denied Him three times after having already been following Jesus, and Jesus still invited him to continue following Him.
I know you're going to be tempted to get your life together before professing your faith. But sweet friend, that's impossible and isn’t the point. Jesus died so that we may have life, and life to the fullest at that (John 10:10). So don't let the shackles of sin and detriment of pain be what keeps you away from taking that next step. In fact, use them to lean closer into Jesus. Your Savior wants you. Only you. Imperfect, beautiful, handwoven you.
Let baptism be a declaration and celebration for all who Jesus is, not for all you are not.
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