I was “raised” in the Church of Christ and baptized at age 12 plus a few months. Two friends, Monte and Gary were the same age and were baptized a little before age 12. People started to be concerned about the fact I had not come forward yet. The fixed age of accountability, 12, did not make sense to me. One day I’m not accountable and then twenty-four hours later I’m now accountable? I understood where the thinking came from but was troubled by it. In addition, I’m sometimes ornery and didn’t want to be pushed into an important decision that was only mine to make. One other thing was troubling, a Sunday School teacher taught us that repentance meant you would never commit that sin again. If you did repeat that sin again, then you did not truly repent and were not forgiven. Experience told me that I had a huge problem because I was a repeat offender and would be because of weakness to temptation.
Please know that I believe baptism is essential but not because of an age attained but because you are a sinner and need forgiveness. It’s time to be baptized when you are mature and ready to commit to a relationship with God and Christ. Baptism is not the final act but should be a new beginning. You will sin again, but you now have the only route to forgiveness. You will also have a relationship like no other you’ll ever know. After thinking through all this, I was ready for the commitment. It’s OK to be seek advice and guidance but it’s very important that baptism be your decision.
In Max Lucado’s book, When God Whispers Your Name, he asks a question about people’s struggles with life and their relationship with God/Christ after their conversion:
“Could it be you went to religion and you didn’t go to God? Could it be you went to a church, but never saw Christ?”
After reading the question, I was somewhat confused. The first reaction was well, I believe in God and that Christ is His Son and He died for my sins. I believe in the religious teachings of the Church of Christ and the importance of the church itself. Does this not mean that I went to God and Christ both?
Max follows-up on Matthew 11:28-29: Jesus invites us to come to Him with our burdens. Jesus’s invitation is for a relationship with HIM and to accept HIS teachings. I believe we are to have a relationship with God’s people within the church but without a relationship with Jesus, it’s meaningless. We must accept HIS teachings, not the “doctrines” of any church.
Max concludes the chapter with these thoughts:
“It’s not that you haven’t tried---you’ve tried for years to deal with your past. Alcohol. Affairs. Workaholism. Religion.
Jesus says He is the solution for weariness of soul. Go to Him. Be honest with Him. Admit you have soul secrets you’ve never dealt with. He already knows what they are. He’s just waiting for you to ask Him to help. He’s just waiting for you to give Him your burdens.”
I believe the vernacular with the younger generation is: God’s got this!
How’s your relationship with God/Christ? Did you go to religion/church or to them?
From On The Anil by Max Lucado: his description of Judas, "those who bear the name of Jesus but have never met Him, and those who have religion but no relationship. Judas bore the cloak of religion but he never knew the heart of Christ. Let's make it our goal to know.....deeply"
If you have a prayer request, let me know. If you know of someone who would like a short visit, let’s talk.