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Baptism, Why Bother?
Photo: Linda DuBose
I grew up in a family and a church that believed in water baptism—not a little bit of water, but a full dunking. It was believed that around 12 years of age was the appropriate time—just about the time when a child could make a decision as important as this on their own.

Around 10 years of age, I decided it was time for me and went to my parents with the good news. Was I surprised when they said “No.” Their reasons: I didn’t show by my behavior at home that I was ready to make that type of commitment. I decided I’d never be good enough to take that step and tried never to think of it again.

When my parents thought it was appropriate, they took it upon themselves to arrange a baptism for me. One afternoon I was called into the living room and there sat my pastor. There was to be a baptism and they had decided I was one of the candidates. The baptism meant little to me. It wasn’t a decision I’d made with God.

You’re probably thinking that’s not how baptism’s supposed to work, and you’d be right. My parents were misguided. About 30 years later, after struggling with depression and a bout with alcohol addiction, I was baptized again and this time it was for all the right reasons.

Follow Jesus' Example

My decision for baptism was for many reasons, not the least of which was to follow the example of Jesus when he was baptized by John. It also demonstrated to my friends and family what had happened to me inwardly and helped me grasp the reality of the spiritual truth that the old "me" had died. It wasn’t something I needed to do to impress God, but something for me. It was also really important for me to shake my fist at Satan. He’d had a place in my life for too long. I wanted to cover myself in the cleansing water and bury myself far away from him.

A preacher friend of mine refers to Satan as a bloodhound. The bloodhound has an olfactory ability claimed to be three million times more powerful than the human sense of smell. It’s claimed the bloodhound can follow a scent up to five days old. But evidently, a bloodhound can’t track someone through water. 

Since Satan the bloodhound is tracking all of us—he’s said to be walking around seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8)—why wouldn’t I want to ask Jesus to cover me in the cleansing stream of baptism? Why wouldn’t I want to throw Satan off track by being immersed in the baptismal waters.

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By Dee Litten Reed. Copyright © 2010 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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