Immersed in LifeJul 28, 2021
Years ago, I (Alan) wrote the thoughts below in my journal while traveling with my friend Roman on a train from Ryazan to Moscow to walk that city together. I was in Russia there to spend some days with Roman, who mentors leaders throughout the former Soviet republics. That evening I took a bullet train to St. Petersburg, where I led a two-day conference on the theme of An Unhurried Life for Christian leaders coming from all over the Asian Continent. What an honor it was to share simple truth that has served me so well over many years.
Wherever I go around the world, I’m continually impressed with just how hurried people are. But Jesus invites us to take time to walk with him and work with him. His is such a gracious, loving pace. He has all the time we need with him, and as we journey alongside him, we find that we have time to notice the people who cross our paths. The best life is unhurried enough to realize what is real and what is unreal, unhurried enough to practice the presence of God wherever we are and wherever we go.
In my journal entry on the train to Moscow, I was drawn again to that wonderful passage of Paul’s in Romans 6:11-14:
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
These are the operative truths rooted in the reality of our baptism. As Paul says, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 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” (vv. 3-4).
I spent my first many years as a follower of Jesus in Baptist churches (or Baptist-flavored fellowships). What strikes me now, looking back, is that I largely thought of baptism as a wonderful beginning but not so much an ongoing life. Baptism is immersion into water (it is for Baptists anyway), but this new life we now live is an immersion into the resurrection of Jesus. We died with him, were buried with him, and now live a new, fresh life in him. That is a reality for today and every day. It is the vitality of God’s grace, the essential air I breathe and fuel I burn in life and leadership.
- How might you enjoy the reality of your immersion into Jesus today?
- Where do you need to remember that there are old ways to which you are dead and buried? Where do you need to remember that the grace of new life is present with you—in you—now?
- How do you want to acknowledge these things in the way you live this day?