Just yesterday, we had a couple of Baptisms here at church and I was privileged to be the one who led them into the water. They had already indicated they've been saved from their sins, attended our Baptism Orientation Class, and now here we were - standing in the water before God and everybody. After the church watched their video telling their story, I was the one who asked them two questions:
Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins?
Is it your desire to now follow Him the rest of your life?
After they answered yes to both questions, I was blessed to take them under the water. It was powerful and emotional at the same time. For both people, this outward symbol of an inward transformation meant something. I don't know all of the details of their stories, but you could tell it was personal and that they were both thankful for all God has done in their lives. I can't wait to see what God does next in each of them!
As the service came to a close, a man I trust tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to go on a walk with him. We ended up going to talk with one of the people that I baptized. As we did, my friend shared how encouraged he was by this step of obedience that was taken and we prayed for the man who was baptized.
I thought about that later on. I was standing in one spot, and was invited (compelled?) to follow my friend. When I left my seat I didn't know where we were going but I knew I couldn't say no and I knew I wanted to see what happened next! The more I thought about this, the more I realized this is same type of invitation the Holy Spirit gives us regularly. There was a time when Apostle Paul experienced the same thing. Acts 20 tells of him saying goodbye to his old friends from Ephesus. You might say that the Holy Spirit tapped him on the shoulder and invited him to go on a journey. Paul never shied away from an invitation like that and was ready and willing to go. We know this by the way he responded:
"And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." (Acts 20:22-24)
I can't say I am always as willing to go as Paul was, especially if I know what will happen once I get where I am going. But when I think Who asked me to go, that should make me a lot more willing. When my friend asked me to follow him to talk with someone about their faith yesterday, I didn't even think about it - I just went. I just went because I trusted the one who invited me along. And if I trust the Lord as much as I trust my friend, shouldn't I be more than willing to go where He tells me to go?!?
Trusting the Lord and being led by Him is really one of the best places you can get to in your faith. This means that you won't always know where He is taking you, how long the journey will take, or what will happen to you along the way. But, if He leads you and you allow it, you will definitely end up in the best place you can be...because you will end up where God wants you to be. My friends that got baptized answered that invitation, and they're growing in their faith because of it. I hope they never forget that, and I hope I don't, either!