Committing to the Lord
Li Shiwei writes about how he sees his recent baptism as both a commitment to God and a means of fostering deeper relationships with those around him.
In over a decade of attending church, whenever the subject of baptism came up, I’d always wondered about the process I myself would go through. What eventually transpired when I did make my decision earlier this year was admittedly less dramatic than I had imagined; instead it raised questions which were broad-reaching and long-lasting.
Every church, of course, has a standard process for baptism. Yet I believe the journey each of us takes to reach that stage is entirely our own. My tipping point came as a result of thinking through what really, really mattered to me, and the extent to which it was aligned to my walk with God.
Thanks to my being born into a large extended family, as well as my exposure to people of various walks and faiths at work, through church and also National Service, I always considered the people around me to be a blessing from God, and long viewed the way I nurtured relationships to be a manifestation of my Christian faith. But, in the midst of daily responsibilities, this was a stance I found increasingly difficult to keep. Some of my loved ones I simply stopped contacting, and those whom I did, it seemed to be only because they were of use to me in some way. I began thinking, if relationships were something I so deeply cherished, why was I seeing them in such superficial ways? And given that I wasn't young anymore, just what, exactly, was I committed to?
As I set about thinking how to make things right, I soon realised that whatever I did – everything premised around ideas of love and commitment – none of it would mean anything, if I couldn't even take the basic step of obedience to God: Someone I considered the central figure in my life; and after all these years of being a ‘believer’.
So what is this commitment to God, exactly? To me it means thinking about His plans for us and how we can live out His character, through understanding the places He puts us in and the people He surrounds us with. These are things we learn – through regular worship, by meditating on His Word, and praying to Him continuously. Commitment to God is about belief, but also about reciprocating the love He has showered on us by loving our fellow men.
And that’s how my decision to get baptised came to be. I knew I was far from perfect (and will always be), and that there would be plenty more questions about God, and His plans, in the future. But none of it got in the way of the things I believed – in His existence, and in the Gospel. And looking back I’m thankful, relieved even, that when I arrived at my decision, I was able to do so quickly and calmly. For a moment I felt at peace with myself.