How does baptism affect my daily life?
1 Corinthians 6:9–11 (MSG) Don’t you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don’t care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don’t qualify as citizens in God’s kingdom. A number of you know from experience what I’m talking about, for not so long ago you were on that list. Since then, you’ve been cleaned up and given a fresh start by Jesus, our Master, our Messiah, and by our God present in us, the Spirit.
Then… Now… I was recommended some new cleaning wipes which I tried on an old pair of banged up shoes. The white rubber toe guards were scuffed and dirty, the tops and sides were dim with dirt making them unpresentable for public wear. I scrubbed with the wipes and viola, they may not look brand new, but they’re clean and useful again. I wish I could show you a Then Now photo.
Paul says We get scrubbed, cleaned up in our baptism. The Holy Spirit makes us useful to God and his Kingdom. Have you ever stopped to look closely at your Then/Now story, life without God/Life with God? Take a minute to reflect on the transformation that has come, the usefulness God has brought into your life simply by virtue of the gift of a baptismal scrubbing. Tell Him Thank you!
Galatians 3:26–27 (NLT) For you are all children of God through faith in Christ Jesus. And all who have been united with Christ in baptism have put on Christ, like putting on new clothes.
When do you put on something new? Holidays? First day of school, the job, the first date? I have my Grandmother’s wedding dress framed and hanging on the wall. It’s golden with age and the fabric is fragile with over 100 years, but I look at it and think of when it was new, put on by a joyful woman about to start a whole new journey of life. I’m so glad I have that dress to mark her journey and how it impacted generations.
How much more significant it is to put on Christ! Surely this journey robed with our Redeemer will have an impact on people beyond our imagination! This morning, stand in front of a mirror and remind yourself that you have put on Christ. Now walk out the door and be a whole new person, bring a whole new perspective to everyone who crosses your path, praising God every step of the way.
Goodness and Loving Kindness
Titus 3:4–7 (ESV) But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Read through today’s text slowly and carefully noting the many ways God is described and what he is busy doing. Yes, make a list of what you find.
Review the list you’ve made and say a prayer that begins with Wow! and ends with Thanks!
Ephesians 4:22–24 (ESV) Put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Paul tells us our new baptized self is created after the likeness of God. By the Holy Spirit’s power, simple water with the Word of God brings us back to Eden, created in the image of God. Now we’re ready to start life that is responsive to God and responsive to our neighbor. Reflect on your day and your responsiveness. Did God nudge? Did you follow? Did you see a need? Did you respond? This reflection is not geared to inducing loads of guilt. Our baptism has washed guilt away. This reflection is geared to putting off the old and buttoning on the new. Look at those instances through your baptism and say, “That’s not me! Tomorrow I know I will _________” and ask the Holy Spirit to take you there.
Confirm your baptism
Yes, you only need to take the plunge of baptism once, but daily your life confirms what God has done in your baptism. You get to live like you are part of God’s family - daily! How do you pursue the good works that your new life in Christ allows you to do? As you review your various roles in life, use these passages as a guide to understand the path God has set before you.
Galatians 5:1, 22-25 (ESV) For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit.