13. Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him. 14. But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me? 15. And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him. 16. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: 17. And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matthew 3:13-17 KJV
Not every baptism is in water. Jesus himself talked of a ‘baptism that he was to be baptized with’ when he referenced his own death. To be baptized means to be utterly submerged into something, to be lowered down into a situation under the power of someone else. And I can tell you that this is never a fun situation.
Baptism also carries with it the connotation of being a passage- an unpleasant means of transition from one time to another. Now some out there may not feel that baptism is unpleasant but I can tell you from my own experience over the years that I have always enjoyed coming up out of the water way more than I ever enjoyed getting lowered down into it. Being lowered down, helpless in the arms of someone else gives me a panic. I do not enjoy trusting, it does not come easily to me.
I have climbed rock faces that most people would steer clear of, everywhere from Pennsylvania to Devil’s Tower in Wyoming and yet I have a real issue with being up on even a 16 foot ladder. Once I am up on the roof or wherever I am fine but I shake and panic while having to trust that ladder to stay steady or to hold me up. It’s strange, I know, but I would rather trust my own hands and feet rather than something else- maybe I was dropped as a child or something, I don’t know.
So baptisms are not fun for me at all. I do not like laying back and allowing someone else to hold me under the water or trusting them to bring me back up again.
And so I have had many, many experiences with this with God as I learned to trust him over the years. He has allowed me to be lowered into situations where I have been helpless to save myself and I have had to look to Him to lift me back up again. In case you don’t know, God will dangle a man over the pit of Hell to make him into the person he is supposed to be but the growth does not come from the dangling- it comes from the rescue.
Look at the above verse, it reads: “And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water:” Friend, if God is in control of your life you never have to fear no matter what the circumstances look like. When you are submerged in a trial and the water has flooded over you there is only one rule to keep in mind: HOLD YOUR BREATH! The danger of drowning begins when the water that surrounds you starts to find its way into you. And the danger of a trial is not the trial that threatens you- it is when those circumstances get into you. You see, when those circumstances get into us so does fear. And when you have embraced fear, you let go of faith. And faith is all that holds you in the middle of a trial. If you can remember that God has a hold of you and not panic about the situation that you find yourself in, then you can simply hold your breath until your father lifts you back out again.
God will never lead us into anything that he is not completely capable of bringing us back out of. It does not matter what it seems like, we must remember that the baptism is simply a passage to a new “way” in our walk with God. The baptism is simply the gate of crisis that opens the path for us to walk down a new way.
I have found in my life that immediately preceding every new “way” that I go down there is a gate. There is a time when I am required to make a decision to walk by faith or by sight, to submit to a sin or submit to God and resist the devil. That “Gate” of decision will determine whether I progress or fall back. Many times I have reacted the wrong way at a critical time and found myself having to start building all over again. I am also sure that when I have failed it was immediately before the answer came. I have failed at 9:02 when the answer was coming at 9:05. I know this because if it is true when I have endured and stood then it is just as true when I have failed.
You see, God does not care about our circumstances. Man, that sure sounds mean, doesn’t it? But I assure you that He does not care about them one bit. God cares about our REACTION to those circumstances. When you find yourself submerged and having to trust, you can cry all day about it if you want but it will do you no good. Some people call that prayer but it really isn’t, it is just whining to yourself, not to God. God responds to faith, not crying about the circumstances. The circumstance simply reveals what is in your heart in abundance at that moment.
After Jesus came up out of that water, the heavens were opened unto him. Praise God that is what is on the other side for you right now where you are! Of course the enemy has been trying to convince you to take those circumstances into you- he knows the heavens are about to open for you! He knows that a baptism isn’t forever, it is only a passing thing. It is not the grave, no matter how long it seems that you are under there or how dark the water happens to be. If God has you, then he has the ability to lift you up out of there and into a new area of your life that is only attainable by faith.
Friend, just hold your breath right now because what God has promised He is able also to perform!