That’s me getting baptized in October of 1998. Man it was cold! That dude in the shorts standing next to me is my great long time friend from college. He was baptized right before I was. We both accepted Christ our freshman year at the University of Northern Colorado in ’96 and we are brothers in Christ to the end! Getting baptized was awesome and the Lord moved in power in the Holy Spirit while I was under the water!
Many of you know I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior in October of 1996. Why I waited two years to get baptized, I don’t know. I was 18 when I got saved and there was a lot going on in college. My friend grew up Catholic, but he had never accepted Christ. I was just an unbeliever who liked to party. We both started going to Campus Crusade for Christ and God used that ministry in both of our lives in mighty ways and we both got saved! Praise God! Love you brother!
How did the Lord move in power when I was under the water? God spoke to me! I did not fully understand what God had said to me at the moment you see in the picture, but He taught me and He is still teaching me what He meant by it. While I was under the water for those few short seconds, I heard God say to me:
That’s it, nothing more. Those two words have stayed in my mind and heart ever since. I was eating breakfast this morning after my first blog post and the Lord reminded me of my baptism and what He had said to me. He wants me to remember that my life at age 40 is still not my own and it has not been since I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior when I was 18. Those two words God spoke to me are encouraging, humbling, and convicting and it puts my focus directly where it needs to be every time God brings it to mind.
I think the Apostle Paul does an excellent job of explaining what God meant when He told me, “You died.” Let me direct your attention to Paul’s letter to the Colossians to gain a deeper understanding of my underwater message from God.
“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”
Man, let that sink in for a moment if you belong to Christ! We died when we accepted Jesus! That is, our old self that did not submit to God and was controlled by the sinful nature. That man or woman died when we accepted Jesus! Why do we set our minds on things above? Because we have been “raised with Christ” where He is “seated at the right hand of God,” that’s why! If you belong to Jesus through your faith in Him, then you died and your new life is now hidden in Jesus. He is your life! The life we live now is “hidden with Christ in God” for all eternity and someday we will “appear with him in glory!” Praise God!
I’m glad I died and I’m really glad God told me, “You died.” I don’t want to have anything to do with the old me. That guy can stay dead. Jesus Christ is my life and He is the only reason I am alive!
What kinds of things belonged to my old self that died? What are the things that need to stay dead in my life? Well, Paul has some excellent practical advice on living our lives for Jesus since we died and our “life is now hidden with Christ in God.”
“Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.”
Praise God that I died and Christ now lives in me! I don’t want any of those nasty sins of my old self in my life with Jesus! Since we know what kinds of things belong to the old self that needs to die, what are the attributes of the new self that is “being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator?” Paul has something to say about that too!
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.”
That is the new self that God gives to every person who believes in Jesus Christ! He puts to death your old self with all the vile sinful rebellion and He renews you into His own image full of His beautiful and holy virtues wrapped in love! Those who believe in Jesus are being renewed every day and we are called holy and dearly loved! May the Lord clothe us with all of those virtues and may we live abundant lives in His forgiveness and love, in the Name of Jesus, Amen!
Paul also gives us very practical ways to live life peacefully in our new self that is hidden in Jesus. Living this way will help us strengthen our new self and make sure that old self stays dead.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
I am so glad my old self died! Thank You Jesus!!! May we never forget that truth! When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we die and we are given a new life in Christ that far surpasses anything we could have ever lived in our old life of sin and death. We have been raised with Christ and filled with His love! Praise God we will appear with Him in glory! I pray we all let His peace rule in our hearts, we would be thankful with a song in our hearts, let His Word dwell in us richly as we share the word of God in His wisdom, and live our lives fully for Jesus no matter what we do, in Jesus’ Name, Amen!
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ–the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.”
“But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”
Remember, if you believe in Jesus, then “You died,” and you were given a new self with a new life and that life is Jesus! He has raised you up and He is your life, and when your journey is complete, He will take you home to Heaven to rest for eternity in His glory!
Grace and peace to you all!
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!”
2 Corinthians 5:17