Obedience

This past Sunday I obeyed what God had been calling me to do for several years.

This past Sunday I took a step forward in ridding myself of an idol that has so entangled me for such a long time without even realizing the depths of it until recently.

This past Sunday I was baptized.

For many this comes as a surprise or as a shock and not necessarily in a bad way but more of a confusing “I thought you’d already been baptized when you were little” kind of way. Let me explain and tell you how this all came about. (I’m really blogging about this so that I don’t forget the Lord’s work but also praying that this is used for His glory and as an encouragement to those that read this.)

For this to all make sense we have to go way back to when I was in 2nd grade and first became a believer. I remember being in the basement and asking my dad what I needed to do to become a Christian. So he and my mom took me to my room and talked about it with me. As we were sitting on my little mermaid sheeted bed I prayed the prayer and I accepted Jesus into my heart. That following Father’s Day I was baptized-taking my first step of obedience and showing everyone that I was now following Jesus.  But in my little heart, not to say that I didn’t believe in Jesus, but I just don’t think I really understood all that it meant to fully surrender to Jesus and follow Him daily

Even at that age, I wanted to be accepted and wanted to please others more than anything. So I thought if I did that, I would make all around me happy, that I would fit in with my other little friends at school and at church who were Christians and when they asked me if I had asked Jesus into my heart I could now say yes! When they asked if I had been baptized I could now say yes! In the back of my mind thinking, “Maybe now I will fit in and they will like me.” (that sounds so sad now that I think about it, but you have to remember I wanted to feel loved and accepted by others even at that young of an age and we had just switched churches  so in my new sunday school class they were all calling each other best friend already and I was obviously not one yet).

Fast forward to High School. We had a church revival and I was very convicted that week that I had just been doing the motions. I had the head knowledge and knew what the right things to say were and what the right things to do were, but wasn’t doing it in my heart (if that makes sense). So I walked forward at the invitation ready to fully surrender to Christ, fully understanding what that meant.

To keep this a little bit shorter I won’t go into a ton of detail, but from that point on there were MULTIPLE instances where I really struggled with wondering if I should I get baptized again now that I really understood what everything really meant.  At every invitation service where they talked about baptism I would get this overwhelming conviction from the Holy Spirit that I needed to be baptized.

BUT WHAT WOULD PEOPLE THINK!?

Instead of being more concerned with what God was calling me to do and obeying Him,  I allowed my fear of what others would think overcome me. I can describe in detail each different scenario where I had an opportunity to go forward and get baptized and I didn’t. “But I’m the counselor I shouldn’t be going forward…”, “But I work at the church I shouldn’t just now be doing that…” , “But I lead worship here, what will people think…”, “My husband just became a deacon how will that look if his wife is just now obeying the Lord…”

“NO OTHER GODS”

My girls bible study group had just finished going through Kelly Minters “No Other God” study and through that is where the Lord really showed me what I was putting above Him-other peoples thoughts and opinions. I do not think it is any coincidence that that was revealed so clearly to me over the last 8 weeks followed by me deciding to read through the book of Acts where over and over it talks about people believing in Jesus and getting baptized. It was all fresh on my heart and mind this past Sunday when we got to church. The High School and Junior High had just returned from their church camps we call “Beach Retreat” and it was “Beach Retreat Reflections” Sunday.  This is where they show the church video testimonies from students whose lives had been forever changed from their week at camp/a synopsis of Dr. Young’s sermons from camp. At the end of the video it shows hundreds of them being baptized, showing all that were at camp  that they were going to live their lives for Christ. The video was so powerful I was already filled with emotion. Afterwards, one of our teaching pastors, Dave Riggle, got up to speak to the congregation (he said a lot more but this is what went straight to the heart), he said the phrase, “Getting your baptism on the right side of your salvation.”

and there it was. 

The Spirit’s presence was so intense and overwhelming that I couldn’t ignore his voice any more. At the open invitation I found myself suddenly walking to the front, tears streaming down my face. I went back to where the counselors were  and again God was faithful. My counselor ended up being our sweet Women’s Director who lo-and behold had experienced the same thing when she was my age and understood. She spoke so much truth into me during that 5 minutes and I knew it was the right thing to do. She reminded me that just because I was getting baptized that day it didn’t negate all the Lord had done in my life the last 10-12 years. He was calling me to be obedient and I was finally obeying.

Please hear me when I say my salvation did not come through me getting baptized on Sunday. I firmly believe my salvation happened long ago when I confessed that Jesus is Lord and believed in my heart that God raised him from the dead. (Romans 10:8-9). It is by grace that I have been saved through faith. Not in my own doing but the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8).

After I got baptized I was overwhelmed with emotion. Emotion from the overwhelming presence of the Lord. Emotion from years of not obeying and finding the freedom that there is in obeying the Lord.

Emotion from  still fighting my fear of what people were thinking and being frustrated with those thoughts.

It was at that point that I was reminded to take every thought captive and to the Lord. To trust that what God had called me to do is far better than what anyone else would think.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5 ” For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ…”

This is why it is SO important to be in scripture each and every day.

 And let me just tell you-obeying the Lord and fighting the battle of the mind with scripture and truth instead of my own thoughts and opinions (or being worried about others) is SO MUCH BETTER.

“Where the spirit of the Lord is THERE IS FREEDOM!!!!”

SO, if there is something that you know God has been calling you to, let me encourage you to obey His leading and calling. You may be scared, worried, fearful, you fill in the blank. But His plans for us are so much better than we could have ever imagined. What is he calling you to do? Listen. Seek Him in all you do. Obey.

Comments

  1. Kim Terry says:

    I love you and am so, so proud of you my sweet girl! ❤️

  2. Kathy S says:

    Lana… this is an awesome recounting of how God is working in your life. Thanks for sharing.

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