Yesterday was the baptism of our newest niece, Cadence Rose. It was a beautiful baptism; and so nice to have my whole family together again for it.
My grandfather, performed the baptism. I love my grandpa. He is so on fire for the Lord and so in love with God that you don’t leave a conversation with my grandpa questioning whether God is real. My grandpa was the one who baptized me and my sister (and all our brothers) when we were babies, and I’ve watched him baptize my little cousins, and nieces and nephews.
We baptize our children as infants. Some people have a problem with this because the child doesn’t have a say in whether or not he or she wants to be baptized. I think these people think that this somehow makes the baptism “less meaningful” for the one being baptized. But I sort of think that misses the point of what baptism really is.
Baptism isn’t just a symbolic gesture that signifies one’s choice to follow Christ. It’s true; that is part of it. But there is so much more going on. Baptism is the moment that the Spirit of God literally enters into a person. It is the moment the walk begins. It is the beginning of a lifelong relationship with God. With the Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, we can hear the voice of God talking to us. Why wouldn’t I want to give that gift to my child as early as I possibly can?
It is important to note here, though, that a choice does indeed have to be made. When we’re younger, it is a choice made by our parents on our behalf. The parents have to choose to help the child foster a relationship with God. In my family, that meant that my parents taught me how to pray. They taught me to listen for God’s voice and to recognize it when I heard it, because God talks to all of us in the same voice we think to ourselves in. Most importantly though, my family taught me that a relationship with God is normal. It’s not the stuff of fairytales; it’s not the same thing as Santa and the Tooth Fairy. God is real. And I learned that as a child because I saw that my parents believed it as adults.
As I grew up, though, it came time for me to make my own choice. We can’t ride on the coattails of our parents’ faith forever. I had to decide whether I was going to choose to follow Christ on my own. When I made that choice, I didn’t feel the need to go get baptized again to signify my decision. In fact, I’ve found that I have to make the choice daily, sometimes hourly, in whether or not I am going to follow Christ. He already lives in me. The choice lies in whether or not I will decide to listen to Him.