pouringwater

Belief, Emersion & Stretchy Pants

Sunday I made a decision I had been wrestling with for awhile.

Back story: I was baptized at the age of 11, during a revival at the church I grew up in.  All the kids around my age were getting baptized and “saved” (which brings up theological issues that I don’t have the desire or patience to unpack here) around this time.  While I don’t necessarily question my 11-year old sincerity at the time, I have often questioned my understanding of what exactly it was that I was doing.  I had been in church all of my short 11 years and while I knew “church” very well and had been inundated with all degrees of religiosity, legalism and opinions and personal preferences sold as “doctrine”, I know for a fact that I did not know or “get” the Gospel.

In the denomination I grew up in, salvation wasn’t presented as by grace, through faith (Ephesians 2:8) in Christ ALONE.  The salvation I grew up understanding and embracing wasn’t based on the cross, but rather on my ability to follow the formula, be good enough and adhere to enough rules that I would be acceptable to God which, from my experience, resulted in a whole lot of arrogance, self-righteousness and spiritual pride. THAT’S certainly not going to be a popular statement, but it is my story, nonetheless.

Looking back over my journey in the 23 years or so since then, I’ve gotten a lot of perspective and had a lot of time to think about what all that meant.  Do I believe that I was “saved” to the greatest extent of my ignorance at that time? Yes. Do I still hold that experience as being sufficient and definitive of what it means to be a Christ follower in my life today? No.

A few months ago, someone asked me a question that is not all that uncommon in Christian circles, especially when you’re first getting to know someone.

“How long have you been a believer?”

My reply: “that’s a loaded question.” At that time, I was right in the middle of this whole season where Jesus was showing me my heart and subsequently wrecking it.  Through a series of events which I have discussed quite candidly here, as well as some I haven’t talked about yet, my life had been wrecked and I understood, quite possibly for the first time in my life, exactly why I needed a savior.  When I was asked that question, I realized that on one hand I had been a believer since 11 years old, but on another hand, and more importantly, perhaps only a few months.  Over the course of the previous few months, the Gospel had dawned on me and I understood it in a way I never had before.  Sure, I had “believed”, but NEVER like this. I realized that Christ’s goal wasn’t for me to stop going to the movies, wearing shorts or listening to rock music (don’t get me started), but rather to intentionally, passionately, relentlessly apprehend my heart.

Last week, Pete Wilson sent a tweet that said:

The pain of self-awareness can be the beginning of spiritual transformation. Stop dodging yourself.

If ever there was a statement to encapsulate the past several years of my life, it was that one.  All the painful and heart-wrenching months that had led up to right now were also transforming me in ways I could see and some I can’t yet. And yes, I had been religiously and methodically dodging coming face to face with myself for so long.  When it finally happened, it undid and changed me.

All of that leads up to the present. For the past couple months I’ve been contemplating and wrestling with the idea of getting baptized again.  I wanted to do it to mark this particular moment of my life in a public way and to say to God, “I am doing THIS, with understanding and gratitude of what You did and are doing.”  So why was I wrestling with it?  It’s simple. Pride. I was so afraid of what people might think, possibly not knowing my story, wondering why I’m JUST getting baptized, etc. I mean, SURELY, by 35 years old… I’ve already done THAT! God forbid anyone think I’m not who they perceived me to be!!! #pridesucks #faithfail

I wrestled with it for weeks, discussed it with some close friends but eventually talked myself out of it, though in my heart I knew I really wanted to do it. I knew that Baptism Sunday was coming up at Cross Point, but I just couldn’t bring myself to commit and follow through.  I woke up this past Sunday morning a little upset with myself that I couldn’t seem to move forward past this stupid pride and fear and just do it.

As I was sitting in the 10am service, Blake Bergstrom brought a powerful message about the love of the Father, His passionate pursuit of our heart and jealousy for our affection… a theme I’ve recently been stuck on and blogged about.  As the message ended, the worship team started to lead “How He Loves”. As soon as I heard them sing “He is jealous for me…”, I broke and knew today was the day.  While I stood there and worshipped God, watching others be baptized, I decided that I would kick the pride and just do it. TODAY.

After the 10am service I shared with Blake what I wanted to do and why. I stayed for the 11:30 service and when it was time, I took the step, moved past my fear and stepped into the water with an understanding of what this meant and was baptized.  I am proud to say that no stretchy pants were used in my baptism.

We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life. (Romans 6:4)

I did it for me. I did it for my heart. I did it to publicly identify myself with the death and resurrection of Christ and what that means in my life every single day.

What is your fear or pride holding you back from?

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Grant JenkinsBelief, Emersion & Stretchy Pants
16 comments
@EmoryColvin
@EmoryColvin

Thank you for sharing your story. I've enjoyed reading your blog from time to time and appreciate your honesty and your sharing the struggle. Praying the Lord continues to move you deeper.

JuliaKate
JuliaKate

thanks for sharing this experience with all of us Grant.
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Makeda
Makeda

It's ironic that I re-read your post on Lindsey's blog just this morning and now as I end my day I'm reading this post as you refer to the idea of God being so jealous for us and desiring our heart. I am excited for this next season of your life. In the short time I have been reading your blog I've seen such an example of what being a Christ follower really looks like. You inspire and encourage me. You're honesty and rawness challenges me on the ways I choose to live out my faith; in many ways you make me want to be better. Thank you for being so real. In a world where so many choose to wear masks, it is like a breathe of fresh air to read someone choosing to just be. You have a beautiful story Grant and God is really only just getting started. Sending you much love from the Carolinas!

JD in Canada
JD in Canada

Thank you for giving us a glimpse of how you came to your decision, such a beautiful story, Grant, such a beautiful journey.

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Blake Bergstrom
Blake Bergstrom

I am so stinkin honored to be a part of your story. I loved that you were vulnerable and honest enough to go through with this. Grant...I am so proud of you!! You are really becoming an incredible leader around Cross Point!!

Blake

Morgan
Morgan

You know, I COMPLETELY thought of you when Blake said "Jesus is jealous for your love." It brought me back to the first time I read your guest post on Lindsey Nobles blog and was introduced to your life. I know we're still getting to know each other, but I am so unbelievably proud of you for being rebaptized Sunday and pushing past the fear and doubt the enemy was trying to block you with. I dealt with some similar fear and pride issues before deciding to be baptized Sunday. Ultimately I decided I am SICK to death of the devil throwing chaos into my head and heart. And even with the extreme elation I feel after this weekend and the love I feel for Jesus, I'm still wrestling with demons of insecurity and self-doubt. I still have fresh wounds on my heart. The fight is far from over--but I know that when I came out of that water, the Lord handed me the tools to train and fight and be a warrior for Christ. And just as Blake said, Jesus is the Good Shepherd that tends to our wounds. Let him tend to you as you continue to grow. My prayers are with you buddy!!! So glad you've been placed in my life. :o)

Ani
Ani

I know this is a serious post but that video made me laugh. So I first have to laugh out loud.
Now I can start writing. That is just great. For me I've been baptized twice. I mean twice as kid. First as a baby because they thought I wasn't going to die. Soon they found out I was still there so they decided to do it properly when I was 18 months. At our church the children are baptized naked in a bathe. Totally under water. Not like the catholics just a few sprinkles on the head. This subject seemed to be a difficult in the church. I didn't know. People found out I wasn't baptized as an adult. I prayed everytime these people told me I had to be baptized. Until now I don't think I should. Because of this a lot of people don't want to talk to me anymore. No problem. Whatever they want. I can't do this for them. I told the people I trust and they said one day His Spirit will move your heart and you will have the desire to get baptized. And I believe that. They told me not to worry. So I don't worry. I'm not afraid. First I was afraid : what if I HAVE to get baptized. But now I'm not anymore. I do celebrate the baptism of others.

Congratulations, Grant. That must have been an amazing moment. God is faithful and patient. His eyes were already on you before you were born. Grant, your name is amazing too, a gift.

Wondering why you didn´t put on those pants. I´m sorry, just kidding.

Shannon Walker
Shannon Walker

So many people are right where you're at or in some part of a similar process. I've been told that it's a blessing to be "brought up in church" and in many ways that is true. But it also means indoctrination into whatever good or bad theology is at hand. Following Jesus out of fear is enslavement. Following Jesus because of an overwhelming love is true freedom. Sadly, so few reach the freedom point.

Josh DeVine
Josh DeVine

On Baptism days, I clap for everyone, but this weekend -- for you -- I found myself cheering, because I know for you, Sunday was huge. It was more than obedience. It was a statement.

Bold.
Humane.
Contagious.

I'm so glad we're good friends.
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rebeccannb
rebeccannb

Grant, I am glad to hear you do this. I was baptized when I was five years old but for years struggled with the same questions you seemed to be struggling with. It wasn't that I didn't believe what I did was enough, it was for me that I finally understood the reason for baptism and that I needed to as an adult make that step. I wrestled for over two years and one Sunday morning in the church I attended the pastor talked about it and I knew it was time for me. So, the following week I was baptized again. Pride and fear kept me from doing it sooner. I am so grateful that I was baptized again. I did it for me this time as well. Great post!
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Toby Sturgill
Toby Sturgill

Dude, thanks for sharing your heart. My dad baptized me in a lake the day after I graduated from high school. Growing up in "the church" my whole life (son of a preacher man & "preacher's wife") I was dedicated to the Lord as a baby. My parents wanted the choice to be mine when I was old enough to understand what it really was all about. I don't think you can be baptized enough! Haha... who's to say that you only get one chance? I wish I had been baptized again spontaneously in New Zealand last year. What a moment!
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Elaina Avalos
Elaina Avalos

Good for you! Thanks for sharing honestly about your journey and what God is doing in your heart.
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Lindsey_Nobles
Lindsey_Nobles

Proud of you. I was baptized as a baby and I wonder sometimes if it is enough. I always seem to land on the side of yes, it is, but wonder what or who is prompting the question to begin with.

Andy Whisenant
Andy Whisenant

This is awesome Grant! So excited for you! The story God is telling through you is pretty cool. Thanks for sharing it.

Debby Garrett-Melton
Debby Garrett-Melton

Grant,
I am proud of you. You are doing such a great job of writing, and it makes perfect sense. You have a great talent and are using it for God. Love you very much.
Aunt Debby

JasonWert
JasonWert

The growth within you in the last few months has been nothing short of extraordinary. This step...and your willingness to share it...are just more confirmation that Christ can take anyone and transform them. It's not easy, it's not without pain and struggle but there's also a lot of joyful moment like your taking the dip. Although stretchy pants are not a bad thing. In fact, in the water, they can help keep you dry on the inside.
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