“At that time, Jesus said, ‘I praise You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent and have revealed them to infants. Yes, Father, for this way was well-pleasing in Your sight.’ “ Matthew 11:25-26 / Luke 10:21
Jesus denounced the cities that had seen most of His miracles, but had failed to repent. The Son pronounced judgment on “the wise and intelligent,” because they failed to yield to The Father, and allow The Spirit to turn their lives around.
Unbroken, childish pride is not softened or satisfied by a great work of God. It only responds to The Father with a spirit of entitlement demanding, “What else ya’ got?”
Scripture reveals time and again, a timeless truth, “Jesus loves the little children.” The early childhood song taught in Sunday School was spot on theologically. “They are precious in His sight.” Indeed.
Stay with me on this. The slight sprinkling of a faithless child has about as much power to convert or turn a life around, as the full immersion of a prideful adult. The power to save is released when genuine humility is expressed. Jesus set this standard for citizenship, in His preamble to The Constitution of Kingdom.
“Blessed as the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:2
The blessing was not pronounced on poor people, but humble people. Prideful people simply don’t want to have their lives turned around. Instead of allowing The Spirit of God to convert them into genuine believers, they create excuses for their incorrigible behavior. In the words of Dr. Phil, “How’s that workin’ for yah?”
My personal belief in Scripture leads me to embrace the symbol of immersion as the clearest expression of a turnaround in a believer’s life. I have always pronounced over the baptismal candidate, “I baptize you in the name of The Father, The Son and The Holy Spirit.”
The help to turn a life around does not come from a healthy helping of water, but from The Helper. The Holy Spirit only enters into “the poor in spirit.” Yielding to the symbol of baptism without obeying the leading of The Spirit robs the symbol of its true meaning, and gives no evidence of a turnaround.
Burying beneath the water, should lead a convert to listening to and walking in The Spirit. Words mean things, and when a person is raised up out of the water, the first words they hear are, “Buried with Christ in baptism. Raised to walk in newness of life.”
Immersion symbolizes salvation as a turnaround of the living dead into living converts. A humbled, changed life is what salvation is really all about. Anything less than a turn around conversion is only a slow dance of personal rebellion.
Note to self: Don’t be fooled by the “Hokey Pokey.” Doing what you want is not “what its all about.”
“Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Whoever humbles himself as this child is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4
Genuine humility is not a matter of thinking less of oneself, but thinking of oneself less. Prayerless people are so prideful that they cannot bring themselves to yield to The Father’s direction, protection or correction. Jesus offers His yoke. The Spirit provides The Fruit of Christ’s character. Still, the prideful chafe under the yoke, and offer imitation fruit because they are too proud to pray.
Jesus praised His Father for hiding His Presence, and the power to repent from the prideful. The Father only reveals Himself to His humble children of faith, and He offers the name of His Son as the key to His Presence. Those who pray will not hesitate to obey. This is what its all about.
Prayerful, humble repentance is the sign of a changed life. Baptism is only the symbol of it. Being sprinkled, immersed, or dry cleaned won’t turn a rebellious life around. Prayer takes the stiffness out the neck of a person who has a tendency to chafe under the yoke of Jesus. Prayer will soften the hardest heart to receive The Fruit and bear the character of Christ that only The Spirit can plant.
Prayerful people approach The Father as little children who are dependent upon Him for life, and love. They are not spoiled brats who demand what they want. They are humble children who receive what He gives. When they let go of what they want, The Father reveals what they need the most, a personal turn around. Prayerful children will never substitute total immersion for complete conversion. Settle for nothing less. TALK LESS! PRAY MORE!