Only Christ has the power to conquer death.
I think of the theme “Made New,” and I’m reminded of the fact that in order to have been made new, I was once dead.
This summer I was baptized, publically declaring my faith and reminding myself as a Christian I am now dead to my sins and alive with Christ. I was baptized when I was 7 years old, but it was my parents’ decision, and I didn’t understand what it meant. Getting re-baptized was something I’d been pondering for several years; I was waiting for the right moment.
While serving as a counselor at a Puget Sound Camp, I felt God tugging at my heart to go for it. I thought it’d be amazing to be baptized at the same camp where I first came to know Christ personally in 8th grade. As I stood in the lake sharing my testimony surrounded by nearly the whole camp, I reflected on the person I was before – someone full of bitterness and anger. My parents got divorced when I was 9-years old. When that happened I harbored a lot of hurt and hatred toward my dad. I was dead in sin, dead in hatred. It wasn’t until last year while meditating on the theme “Picking up the Pieces,” I finally let go of my hate. I couldn’t stop smiling, realizing Christ died for that hateful person.
I can’t explain the feeling when I rose from the water. Renewed. I no longer had to be ashamed of my story and the person I’d been because it revealed God’s glory. I was once dead. Christ made me new. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me (Galatians 2:20).
Later that night campers kept coming up to me, sharing their life stories and telling me how my testimony had touched their lives. I prayed with crying girls as they dedicated their lives to Christ. I lay awake feeling extremely humbled. I’d wanted to get
baptized for me, but Christ had a bigger plan. He wanted my baptism to touch the lives of others.
We are all broken. There’s nothing for us to be ashamed of. When we embrace our brokenness, it is then Christ’s light shines through. When we lower ourselves, Christ is made higher.
As I reflect on Corban’s theme this year, I think of my baptism and how it’s a symbol of newness – the resurrection of a new self and the death of the rotten me which once lived. I have to stop and catch my breath when I think about it. I was undesirable, yet Christ desired me. Death had always been permeant. When something died it never came back to life.
Our sin bruises us like the bitter black spot on a banana, unappealing to all who see it. We are tainted and rotten. We often avoid thinking about our sin or looking at how it affects our lives. It fills us with guilt, shame and a sense of failure. Rarely do we look inside ourselves and ponder the darkness inside. Death is painful and unpleasant to look at.
Yet when we take a look at who we once were, we are able to truly understand the vast beauty of Christ’s sacrifice. We were sinful, broken and despicable. We are not beautiful creatures; yet Christ chose to make us beautiful. He died for us when we were rotten. Why avoid looking at our sinful nature when it reveals the unexplainable love of Christ who transformed us and made us new?
Christ broke the cycle. He has made me new. Forget the funeral; celebrate the miracle Christ chose to perform inside me. I never want to forget who I once was, so I can realize who I’ve become.