Pretender to Contender: It’s been a long time coming

It’s been a while since I told my testimony, but today I was sparked by a sermon given at my church. The sermon isn’t on iTunes yet, but click here to listen to other sermons.  It was on Jude and how he called out all of the pretenders and hypocrites and talked about how we need to stand up and be true Christians.  Pastor Ritchie told a story about his wife.  When she was a young girl (I’m assuming 12-14, not certain), she accepted Christ into her life.  She was super involved in church, even touring the country with her music.  Then some years later when she was in college, she realized that she hadn’t fully understood salvation. She hadn’t fully understood what being a Christian meant.  If I remember correctly, she solidified her faith in Christ by getting baptized again and moving forward from there.

I basically went through the same experience, but it’s taken me much longer to come to terms with getting baptized again.  I accepted Christ and was baptized in an Episcopalian church when I was in 4th or 5th grade by the Archbishop of West Virginia.  Before I got baptized, my dad sat me down and asked if this was something that I wanted to do.  He asked if I understood what salvation and baptism meant, and explained it all.  I think he even showed me a yearbook of sorts of the group of kids he was confirmed with (he was raised Catholic).  If my fuzzy little kid memory serves correct, he even asked if he could get baptized as well, but the pastor said you only get baptized once.  So, he got anointed with oil and all that jazz.

When I went to university, one of the first people I met was my friend Daniel.  He was an RA in the building and he had a weekly bible study, BOOM (body of one outreach ministry, I believe).  Anyway, over the 2-3 years I attended that, I was introduced to the notion that you should get baptized again once you realize the way you’ve been living hasn’t been right.  I went through some personal stuff (not important to point out what, just know that it was sin).  When I came out of it and ever since then, I’ve known that I’ve needed to get baptized again.  Duh.  So why have I waited this long?  Because.  No one had ever pointed out how much of a lie it is to keep on living like this.  I can’t go on pretending like I’ve fully accepted life as a Christian (works + faith and everything else) when I haven’t even taken the leap to get baptized.  Although I do consider myself a “strong Christian”, I believe that the lack of getting baptized again has really been holding me back.

As much as I want to say that I don’t think I’ve been lying to anyone, just to myself, I have been putting up that facade of having my faith in a perfect little basket.  I’ve never ever claimed that this life and this road is an easy one.  It’s always a learning and growing experience, and this is the next step. Baptism.  I filled out the communication card today to say that I’m interested in getting baptized because Avalon is doing two Sundays of baptisms.  I even put the very shortened version of this in quite the sloppy handwriting, but again, I’m not perfect.