Ever notice that you rarely see anyone considered an elite executive or person of outstanding notoriety be baptized in church? Or how about responding to an altar call? It is certainly a humbling experience to be public about things, but it is also the easier way to think that believing in your heart, and confessing with your mouth in private that Jesus is Lord will save you. Plus confessing our sins in private allows us to continue to live without real accountability.
Without debating a long standing issue, let me just bring up something that I have noticed in all the baptisms that I have been a part of. People take off "The Suit" and put on the waders and come with an attitude of humility and gratitude to make a public statement of faith. To many of us, putting on "The Suit" dresses us up to look good on the outside and is often a power move to make that person feel superior to those around them not dressed as well. Is there a difference?
In all of the Gospels there is always a public statement of faith, an outward expression of the inward faith so to speak that often caused severe persecution because of it. Maybe that holds some back to take off "The Suit". We feel somehow protected if we can keep things private between us and God. Looking outwardly good makes others respect us more, we think, makes others look at us more, we think, and consequently makes us feel better about ourselves, we think.
I did my best drinking and imitation of a successful man in "The Suit". So when I came to Christ, I actually stopped wearing them except on special occasions, and that is the only time I have seen our preacher, Dusty, in a suit as well, when we did a funeral together. In truth, in a public statement of baptism, we put on the full armor of God, we put on "The Suit" of humility, honesty and honor. It it is invisible in looks but highly visible in actions.
It is a way for all of us to let everyone know where we want to go, who we are, what we are all about and it is not a work, it is a public commitment to take off "The Suit" we have often hid behind. I left after the baptisms yesterday feeling so thankful for Tabatha and Angie that we shared that experience, and even one of them took their wig off for the occasion. (Not sayin' who)
For her that might have been "The Suit", and she left it in the closet when she came to the Lord!
Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.