And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” -Matthew 3:16-17
Believing I am loved, I agree to be led into nothing less than God's eternal purpose. - This is what we are saying with baptism; it is the statement of baptism! It's not a religous check box, it's not something that we trust for our salvation, it is a statement that we are making at the beginning of a beautiful and unending journey; that's what baptism is! So, if this water would speak, it would speak of love, which is the birth of all real relationship with God.
Religion somehow knows all the God stuff, but it never has a heart that is softened and touched by love. It never feels the joy of the Father's smile. It never knows the warmth of the Father's embrace or even the gentle whisper of the Father's breath in it's ear! But the person that dares to believe that they are personally and eternally loved by God is on the Jesus path!
You are not hopeless, you are not rejected, you are not ugly, or fated to fail. You are the beloved sons and daughters of God and you are invited to accept your place in the Father's family. But He loves you and will not force you; you cannot force love. It has to be wanted, it has to be given. Jesus knew He was loved, and until our identity is settled in looking into the face of Jesus, we are going to live our whole lives as exhausted posers performing for people like a seal in a circus. Our lives are going to be filled with pain because people can't fill you and no matter how much you tap dance and how many plates you spin, it will never ever be enough!
Faith connects life's pain to God's love. In baptism we are believing that we are beautifully loved and the truth is, like Jesus, we have to begin with an identity of love. If love is far from your heart, then that's your first step of faith! I don't care whether you feel it, you have to "faith" it; that you are loved, that you are known and that you are wanted! Believing I am loved, I agree to be led into nothing less than God's eternal purpose! -Dr. Drew Shofner