The beautiful little girl stands at the front of the church with the biggest beaming smile on her face that she looks like a living angel. She is only seven years old (but is quick to tell that she will be turning eight very soon) as she boldly faces the congregation of over a hundred people with no fear and no hesitancy.
She has been waiting for this day for a very long time and in the world of a child, months feel like an eternity.
But oh, the day has finally arrived!
The day that she gets to proclaim her faith; brave the waters of baptism and demonstrate to all in Heaven and on Earth that her heart belongs to Jesus.
I am privileged to witness such an event, and with tears in my eyes and goosebumps on my arms, I celebrate her bravery, her heart, and her story. Yes, a story from the mouth of a mere babe, that Jesus lives and life can be celebrated now and for eternity because of the greatness of Christ.
Now, I know many of you will smirk and may say one of two things:
1) Seven years old- really? She can’t possibly know what it means to accept Christ; or
2) Come on; baptism is just silly. You expect anyone with any sense to believe there is some magic in the water that mysteriously cleanses you of your sins and you are instantly changed?
In response, I would ask you to consider:
Jesus himself said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." Matthew 19:14
He also said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you change and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3
Who are we to say there is an age limitation?
Childlike faith shouldn't be confused with being childish or naïve; it is coming before a Holy God with awe-inspiring wonder and trusting in His goodness.
As adults, we become cynical, doubtful, distrustful and want everything spelled out in tangible, black and white. We want irrefutable proof before we believe. This is not God’s intention; God seeks a childlike submissiveness and meekness, a gleeful, childlike heart that is free from fear, free from doubts and a heart that can just believe without proof!
Now, to the act of baptism- let's clear up one thing- baptism itself is not what saves, there is no magic in the water, and you are not instantly changed! It is simply a bold proclamation of a person’s decision to accept the gift of Christ and to choose to follow Him throughout their life. A willingness to demonstrate in an uncomfortable, public way that you are not ashamed of Christ and are not ashamed to follow Him.
It is that simple.
Christ himself, willing; went into the Jordan River to be baptized by John the Baptist. This act of obedience performed by Christ should speak volumes to its importance (Matthew 3:13-17.) If we are called to model Christ, why would we not emulate a significant act that proclaims our faith and our obedience?
Furthermore, Christ himself commanded it- “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:19–20).
Jesus was baptized and then commanded that we baptize in His name. Why do we hesitate, deny or try to complicate things?
It is a simple illustration of unashamed belief and identification with Christ.
If you are a Christ follower have you gotten your hair wet for Him? Isn't it the least that we can do to proclaim our love for Jesus and all that He has done?
May we never feel too young or too old to seize childlike faith and proclaim our love for Jesus. Fact is... we are all children of God!
Father, thank you for the gift of Christ and that through his death we can come before you like little children with blind faith, believing in your goodness. May we never put limitations on your work and wrongly believe that we are too young or too old to truly love and accept you. May we never be ashamed of you and your great love. I specifically pray for those that have not accepted your gift of Christ- may they come to you with a child's heart and may they boldly proclaim their belief as the act of baptism is never too little or too late.
“For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when He comes in His glory, and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels.” Luke 9:26