There was a story told (probably apocryphal) in seminary about how crusaders, as they were preparing for battle, would be baptized with thier sword hand out of the water. The soldiers would march through the water, with the water washing over thier heads, but their hands held high out of of the water. They didn’t want to baptize the hand that would be used to kill their enemy. Everything else had been consecrated and set apart for God, but their hand was their own, to do with as they please.
While this may seem rediculous to us today, its surprising how many of us still think this way. We come to God and say, “Lord, here I am. You can have everything I am, except for ________ (you fill in the blank).”
Maybe it’s your playlist on your iPod. Maybe it’s your wallet and the way you spend you money. Maybe it’s your conversations (I knew one man who’s daily conversation was so riddled with “colorful metaphors” that I wondered if he had stuck his tongue out at baptism). Maybe it’s your world view, your relationships, your career, you lifestyle.
We’re afraid to let these things go. Like an old pair of jeans, we’re comfortable with these things just the way they are – they provide physical and emotional security. We’re afraid of the change that might come in our lives if everything came under the authority of Christ. We’re afraid of how we might change, how other people’s consideration of us might change, if we give ourselves over entirely to the Lordship of Christ. We’re afraid that Jesus might just say to us, “Lay down that sin – that pride, that promiscuity, that temper, that greed, that ungodliness – lay it down, let it be washed away. Let me clothe you in righteousness and peace.” And so we march on with our sin held high out of the water.
What are you keeping out of the water? These unconfessed sins are actually keeping you from the fullness of joy that God has intended for you in Christ the Lord. We struggle under the weight of these sins, clinging to them desperately, fearing the pain and uncertainty of letting go, when in reality, Christ’s “yoke is easy, and [his] burden is light.”
We aren’t meant to go through this life fragmented and disconjointed – this part of my life I will live for God, but my way of thinking or speaking or living I will choose what is best. Everything we have, all that we are, ought to fall under His sovereign reign. Eugene Peterson’s The Message summarizes the direction of a maturing Christian life so well, by saying that we to to fit “every loose thought and emotion and impulse into the structure of life shaped by Christ.”
Brothers and sisters, lay that burden down – let it go. “Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb 12:1). Let Christ wash you, all of you, by the water and the word (Eph. 5:26), that you might be holy and blameless before Him.