Recently as I reflected in prayer on the Baptism of our Lord, the Holy Spirit gave me a new insight. As we all know, baptism involves being plunged down before being raised up to new life. I can now see that this “down before up” process continues throughout our lifetime. Find out what I mean in today’s message. Please read more.
John was baptizing people in the muddy waters of the Jordon river. Then one day Jesus came to be baptized. Every person who had preceded Jesus in baptism had been cleansed by the water. Jesus, on the other hand, who was without sin, cleansed the river. As John plunged Jesus into the muddiness of the river and raised Him up again, every drop of water that fell from our Lord’s wet hair and body, cleansed the river, and made the river Holy. Unlike Jesus, we need baptism to cleanse us from the muddiness of life (sin).
As many of you know, the cornerstone on which Broken Door Ministries is built is the message God gave me while on a silent retreat, “If you want to be healed, you have to tell someone you are broken.” Since 2011, I have continually shared that vitally important message. We must lower ourselves down and humbly admit our wounds and brokenness in order to be healed and raised out of our pain and/or our bondage to recurring sin. Prior to meditating on the Lord’s Baptism, I had never recognized the correlation to between that message and the baptismal process of being lowered down and raised up. The Holy Spirit helped me to recognize this connection.
In a strange irony, before a person is baptized, they are caked in the mud of original sin. The mud on the outside hides the beautiful person on the inside. After their Baptism the real child of God, who was created in His image, emerges from behind the mud.
Just the opposite seems to happen after our Baptism. When we continually sin, and when we are wounded by this broken world, the mud cakes itself on our heart and soul. Our exterior looks clean. It is our inside that is muddy. On the outside, we masquerade as Mister Clean. We want others to see us as pure, clean, and unblemished. We are not! That is a false mask. Eventually everyone becomes wounded by this world, hurt by others, struck with grief, or stained by their own sins. In Mark 2:17 Jesus tells us, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do. I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” We must never forget this!
When we come clean, pun intended, and tell others of our wounds and brokenness, when we confess our sinfulness, our hearts and souls are washed clean. At this point our exterior matches our interior. In a word, we become authentic.
This process of “coming clean” about our real selves is humbling. It is not easy. In fact, it can be downright scary. No one wants to readily admit their flaws and make known their sins. No one wants to let others see their wounds and scars. Opening up is a form of dying to self. It is not a coincidence that baptism symbolizes dying to self. In Romans 6:3-4 Saint Paul tells us, “Or are you unaware that we who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were indeed buried with him through baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might live in newness of life.”
Although we confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins, the “down before up process” seems to repeat itself throughout our lives. Through baptism we entered God’s family, but, following baptism, if we want to rise above the muddy river of life, we must continually lower ourselves first, humbly admitting our struggles and pain, so that we can rise once again victorious in Christ. Perhaps when we willingly lower ourselves down, and tell others that we have issues and struggles, we will be raised up, and we will hear God say, “You are my child and with you I am well pleased!”
Sadly, I remained silent about some scars and brokenness for 42 years. Doing so did not help me and it denied others the opportunity to be Christ to me. That all changed twelve years ago. Are you suffering in silence right now? Are you walking the path of life, carrying pains, wounds, and/or recurring sinfulness alone? Are you searching for freedom and healing? Let someone know! It is not necessary to tell your story to everyone, but it is essential to open up to someone. Some pains are so deep that they should only be shared with a trained professional. Normally, however, we can open up to a trusted confidant. It is not healthy to hide our wounds and walk alone. Eventually we all need to go through the “down before up” process. My hope is that if you are someone who is currently holding your pain inside, this message might encourage you to open up. Are you willing to do this? Give someone the chance to be Christ for you. If, at this time in your life you are not weighed down by hidden pains and sins, God may have chosen you to help someone who is.
Heavenly Father, give me the courage to humble myself and admit my wounds and sins. Help me to understand that I am not alone. Help me to see that everyone struggles. Father, I have been weighed down by my secrets for far to long. Your Word tells us “Faithful friends are life-saving medicine; those who fear God will find them.” Help me to find one today! Amen!
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