The best moment for a Christian mommy has to be the moment that her child accepts Jesus into his or her heart. It’s hard to know the exact moment it happens. We may not even be there when it does. Although baptism isn’t the “saving” moment, it’s a moment that we can put our finger on. It’s a culmination of many prayers and joyous celebration!
Obviously everyone’s story is different. My 8 year old son was at VBS and filled out a card saying he had accepted Jesus as his savior and wanted to be baptized. When his teacher told me, my eyes welled up. It is such a grown up decision. I knew he loved Jesus. I just didn’t know if he was ready.
I heard a pastor tell the story of people in foreign lands who were asked to wait 3 months when they wanted to be baptized. It sounded crazy at first, but he went on to explain that these people were literally committing their lives to Christ–there was a great chance that they would be killed for their faith. The preacher wanted to make sure that they understood what kind of commitment they were making.
In America, baptism doesn’t carry such a price, at least not now. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take the decision just as seriously. After all, it is more than a lifetime commitment– it’s an eternal commitment!Baptism is more than a lifetime commitment--it’s an eternal commitment! Click To Tweet
Here are some things you can do if you want to make sure your child is ready to be baptized…
- Why does your child want to be baptized? Is your child afraid of going to Hell and just wants to make sure he doesn’t miss out on the big party in Heaven? Baptism is so much more than a get-out-of-jail-free card. Make sure your child knows that they are making a life-time and longer commitment to follow Jesus in obedience and eternal life starts now. If your child truly knows God, He is with them. That is the very essence of eternal life. “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes HAS eternal life.” John 6:47 That is a present tense promise! God is with us!
- Ask your child what baptism means. Your child should be able to articulate the reason for baptism. Does he know that it is a picture of Jesus burial and resurrection? Does he know that it is a way to confess Jesus in front of others and show our commitment? Does he know that it is not the act of baptism that saves, but a true commitment in our heart that does that?
- Observe him to see if he seems sincere in his commitment. Does your child truly seem repentant when they make serious mistakes (eventually)? Do they have a general love for others, just as Jesus did? I have to admit that this was a hang up for me. Sometimes my son messed up and just wasn’t quite as sorry as I wanted him to be. I knew that in general he was loving. All too often, he would even beat himself up if he made a mistake. His repentant heart was important (though no one should beat themselves up!). But sometimes my son didn’t come around to repentance as quickly as I thought he should. A look in the mirror revealed that sometimes I am not as sorry as I should be either! If your child eventually comes around and has a good heart, they are on the right track. Who am I to judge and stand in the way of the Holy Spirit working in my child’s life, just because God’s ways aren’t exactly on my time table?
- Does your child know WHO they are in Christ? Our kids are so much more than what they will become or how they act. We so often fall into the trap of focussing on our kids behavior that we forget to teach them that it is okay to mess up. Even after they are baptized they won’t be perfect. We need to teach them that God loves them even when they mess up. Their identity is found in Christ, not in perfection. “But God shows his love for us in that WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS, CHRIST DIED FOR US.” Romans 5:8
- Does he know that walking the Christian walk is not always going to be easy? That’s right folks–just like the popular ad campaign, there is no easy button! We like to think of all the feel-good stuff that comes with having Jesus in our hearts, but the truth is that life still won’t be easy. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus WILL BE persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12 If your child knows hardships will most definitely come because of this decision, are they still going to make it? If a fun-loving child is still ready to make that commitment, they are most definitely ready for baptism!
Do you have other suggestions for making sure children and adults alike are ready to be baptized? Please share them below!