Out of the Abundance of the Heart

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Time to dunk it, Friend.

Well, we finally did it. Last Sunday we baptized Jesse’s left foot. Jesse and his wife now serve as Children’s Pastors at our church. But back in 2007, Jesse was a new believer. He came to be baptized, but he had a broken foot with a cast on it. His friend Joshua, held his foot up out of the water while I baptized the rest of him. Since then he has married, had a little girl, gone to bible school, and been ordained as a minister

of the Gospel. Quite a story! But I still found it necessary (or at least fun) to kid him occasionally about that foot. So on Sunday, at the end of our baptism service, Jesse came forward, took off his shoe, and we baptized his left foot.

Since then, I have been thinking about that act. I wonder how many of us do something similar, though maybe not with actual body parts. Instead, we hold back a little piece of ourselves from the Lord. We mentally “hold them up out of the water” to keep them unchanged. Maybe it wouldn’t hurt to go ahead and let some things die and be resurrected in the form that God would have them. Some things folks often “hold up” include:

1. Their brokenness. Many folks let their problems become their identity. Whether it’s abuse, sexual behavior, addiction, or an illness of some kind, they derive some value from staying connected to that damage. Though my addiction determined much of my life trajectory, it does not define me. God uses my experience to help others, but it is not who I am, it is what I did. He forgave it, I dunked it, He resurrected it as an asset, not a liability.

2. Their favorite sin. I didn’t want to give up smoking. I hung on as long as I could. After all, where does it say, “Though shalt not smoke?” God eventually dealt with me specifically and strongly. Everyone has his personal favorite: gluttony, judgement, sloth, … You get the idea. Give it up, offer it up, and learn how freedom feels.

3. Inconvenient Bible verses. Some folks have a hard time with giving, especially tithing. They go to great lengths to find support for their stingy position. Others avoid commitment to a local church and Christian service like it was leprosy. Jesus paid a great price for our time and resources. They are His to use as He sees fit.

4. Trusting Him in personal matters. We often have an idea of how we want things to turn out in some part of our life, so we hold out for our plan, even trying to force things to happen. I am constantly amazed at the folks who are “believing God” for a mate, then they spend time and energy pursuing romance like they would shop for new car. It’s an obsession. Pursue God, not romance, and let Him do the match-making. You don’t want an Ishmael marriage.

The list could go on, but you get the point. Any part of our life that remains untouched by the Spirit and the teaching of the scripture, is a part that has yet to be “immersed” in Christ.

Somebody Said: Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and seek to follow Him every day. Don’t be swayed by the false values and goals of this world, but put Christ and His will first in everything you do. Billy Graham

Scripture Reading: Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey? You can be a slave to sin, which leads to death, or you can choose to obey God, which leads to righteous living. Thank God! Once you were slaves of sin, but now you wholeheartedly obey this teaching we have given you. (Romans 6:16-17 NLT)

If you are “holding up” something, maybe it’s time to dunk it. Indeed, if this little article made you mad or uncomfortable, then I suspect God is dealing with you about some area you are reserving to yourself. Whether it’s money, relationships, pastimes, or positions, your life is not your own. Christianity is not your hobby, it’s your life. Have a private baptism service, just you and God. Let Him dunk your foot. You’ll be glad you did.

Pastor Virgil L. Stokes
Faith Christian Fellowship of Tucson
3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.
Tucson, AZ 85745
Office: 520-792-3238

For more information on baptism, read our book, “Water Baptism: Believeth and is Baptized…” Call our office (520-792-FCFT) or visit us online at www.fcftucson.org.

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