Once upon a time, there was a 12-year-old girl that was raised in church. One day, she was moved to walk the aisle and pray "The Sinners Prayer" as us Christians like to call it. She was baptized and later prayed to be filled with Holy Spirit. Everyone in her family was happy and felt safe that if she passed away she would spend eternity in Heaven. Since this little girl has been raised in church, she knew all of the right things to say and do in order to be a good and proper Christian. The only problem was, there was no change inside of her. She did not grow in her relationship with the Lord. She did not spend time with him. She simply lived the life of a typical, young teenage girl. In fact, as she hit her teenage years, she became angrier and more rebellious than ever before. The sin in her life grew to such heights that she hurt many, including herself, before falling from the top of her sin mountain. She was 28-years-old when she hit rock bottom.
All the while, thinking she was a child of God. She attended church. She served in the church. She was a leader in her church. Yet, something was very broken inside of her. She was dead on the inside and all of her efforts to act like a true Christian were nothing more than words and works.
That girl was me.
In 2001, I attended my first ladies encounter retreat and that weekend...that was where the true change started. That is the point that I can say, "The Lord did a deep work inside of me and I have not been the same since." That was my true point of salvation. However, for years I have believed and testified that I was saved back when I was 12-years-old. I looked back over those years of turmoil, pain and sin thinking I had simply "lived in the pig pen" like the Prodigal Son.
I literally have stood in pulpit after pulpit sharing my testimony that way...believing it. I remember one time, many years ago, as I was preparing my testimony for a ladies encounter retreat, that I stopped and wondered if I was really saved back then. But I quickly rationalized that thought away. I didn't think about it again for several years. Well, I started questioning my point of salvation a couple of years ago. I discussed it with my husband and some close friends, but we always walked away thinking I was just being over sensitive. That the enemy was trying to create confusion. But from time to time the question would arise again in my mind. Why it isn't something that has been burning inside of me all along, I do not understand.
Bro. Bill has been teaching on baptism and salvation (true salvation). I've been doing one-on-one with some ladies and the baptism and salvation lessons have stirred my mind yet again. And it has recently been on my mind night and day. Well, a couple of weeks ago I'd had enough. "Enough is enough and I can't stands no more!" I asked, "Why am I flip flopping around with this?" When I look back at all of the things that I called Christianity, those were nothing more than works. No real change happened in my when I was 12. Salvation came for me in 2001.
Whew...that's settled. Yes, the way I share my testimony has officially changed...
BUT WAIT... after salvation comes baptism. Um...I'm realizing that in order to be obedient to God, I should have been baptized 11 years ago. Great. That's just great. (In walks pride and shame.) I have been ministering to people and I've even baptized someone, yet I myself have not followed through with what I should have done 11 YEARS AGO! Oh my word. How could I have been so foolish!? I have walked so closely with the Lord since 2001...why is it JUST NOW grabbing hold of me like this? It's been bad in the past week. So bad that one night I cried out, "Lord, just let me go outside and baptize myself in the pool!" (No one else was home...) Oh how I wish it had been this strong in me 11 years ago when I returned from the retreat. I hate that I missed this every important moment.
I have repented for being foolish. I have repented for not listening to the still small voice that has tried to show me that I needed to recognize when I truly surrendered my life to the Lord. I want to be obedient and my pride certainly is not happy about it. (That's one reason I'm posting this on here for all 10 of you to see! :) So I will be scheduling a baptism for myself. I can't imagine the questions it will stir up. (Oh, there's that pride again.) I pray that this does not hurt anyone. I pray that the Lord uses me...this new twist to my testimony... to set others free. I pray it will start a revolution in the lives of those that hear about this. Please God, use this like You have used the rest of my testimony to set captives free! I pray that Christians will come forward for baptism. I pray that those that have pridefully fought-off the reality that they were saved at a later time than they have declared - and have not been baptized - that they will surrender their will and allow the Lord to do a mighty work through the obedients of baptism.