“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
I was so excited yesterday to see my friend, Garry, be baptized. I can’t think of anything that brings me greater joy than to see someone accept that gift of God and be given a chance to start over in this life. I am thankful that I was there to celebrate with him. I was also so very proud of him, because I know how hard it is as an adult to make that walk down the aisle.
As a person that met Jesus and was baptized as an adult, I will always remember the difficulty of making those choices. And it isn’t because I had any reservations about Jesus, my problem was that I was worried about what all these “church people” would think of me.
I worried when I walked that aisle, “What will all these people think of me, not having done this before?”
I worried when I walked into my first small group, “What will all these people think of me, I don’t know where anything is in this book?”
I worried in worship, “What will all these people think of me, I don’t know any of the words to these songs?”
I worried in my first Bible study, “What will these people think of me, I don’t know how to pronounce any of these names?”
And the list of worries goes on and on. I guess the only thing that kept me making those first steps was my desire to learn more about this Jesus and to experience these promises of His, promises of love, joy, and peace – things I desperately needed. Things I needed to the point of not caring about the embarrassment any more.
But here I am, on the other side for almost 15 years after all those “firsts.” And I can tell you that my worries were all completely unwarranted. Nothing gives a Christian greater joy than to see another come to Christ. Nothing gives a Christian greater joy than to see a brother or sister take the next step in his journey through joining a small group or study. We don’t judge people for what they haven’t done in the past, we rejoice with each other for what is happening inside our hearts right now. We encourage each other. We work as hard as we can to make those “firsts” easy for each other, because we have all been there.
So, today, I encourage you. If there are any of those “firsts” that are looming in front of you, be encouraged. Know that, not only is there a loving church family that will walk with you, but your loving Father has already gone before you and paved the way. Whatever it is, joining a small group, calling a pastor with a question, or the scariest of all, praying in front of a group – don’t let the enemy paralyze you with fear. Don’t let him take the blessings of God from you. Be courageous, take the first step. If you can’t do it alone, ask a friend to go with you. Any true Christian would be honored and overjoyed to walk with you.
Be Blessed my friends,
How wonderful you are to us who seek You. Lord, You understand how scary it is to take any steps of faith. And You are right there with us, encouraging and clearing the way for us. How great is our God! We thank You for these opportunities and we pray for the courage and the support to continue taking more steps in the direction that leads us straight to You.
In the name of our Redeemer we pray,