What is the most important decision that you will ever make? It’s not what college you will go to, or what career you will pursue. It’s not even who you will marry. While these are all very important, none of them is the most important. The most important decision of your life is baptism (Mark 16:16 Mark 16:16He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned.
American King James Version×)—the choice to follow God’s Way for the rest of your life, thereby gaining eternal life. Baptism is a necessary ceremony to show that you are going to follow God’s Way, and it is commanded in Acts 22:16 Acts 22:16And now why tarry you? arise, and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
American King James Version×. Baptism is the outward representation of the old man dying and being washed away. It is made possible by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, our Savior. After baptism you receive the gift of God’s Holy Spirit to help and to guide you (John 14:16 John 14:16And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
American King James Version×; 15:26).
Baptism is extremely important, but how do you know if you are ready for it? Most of us have grown up in the Church of God, and we have been living God’s Way our entire lives. Because of this, we won’t get that “Aha!” moment like someone who is called into the Church. This is a moment in which a light bulb turns on, brought on by discovering the truth of God’s Way for the first time, starting a wonderful desire to follow God. This wildfire eventually either settles down into a slow burn, or it burns out. This slow burn is what is required to endure to the end. Being reared in the Church, we are typically at that slow burn stage already. This can make it difficult to know if you are ready for baptism.
When I was first thinking about being baptized, I knew it was what I eventually wanted, but I didn’t know if I was ready. One day I was positive I was ready, the next I would be worried that I wasn’t. I talked to friends who had already been baptized, trying to get an idea of how to tell when you are ready, and that helped a little. I prayed a lot, asking for a way to tell if I was ready, and I eventually talked to my pastor. He offered me some things to read which really helped. When I finally made the decision to be baptized, the following questions became clear. Is this the way of life that I want to follow for the rest of my life? Did I feel like God was calling me? Did I believe Christ had died for my sins and that He loved me? Yes, yes and yes. Once I answered those questions, I no longer had anything holding me back, and I was able to make the decision. It was the best decision I ever made.
If you are thinking about baptism, but you’re hesitant because you are afraid you might make a mistake after you are baptized, don’t be, because you will. We all do. Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
American King James Version×says, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”—even after baptism. The key is to repent and ask God for forgiveness. Then do your best not to do it again. You will have God’s Spirit to help you.
So, if you are thinking about baptism, that’s great! You are on the right track. However, it is an extremely serious and important decision, not to be made lightly. This is why we don’t practice child baptism. You are spiritually getting engaged to Christ, so that you can become part of the future bride of Christ. There is no backing out, so take your time and make sure you can run the course and pay the price (Luke 14:28 Luke 14:28For which of you, intending to build a tower, sits not down first, and counts the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it?
American King James Version×; Hebrews 12:1 Hebrews 12:1Why seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
American King James Version×; 1 Corinthians 9:24 1 Corinthians 9:24Know you not that they which run in a race run all, but one receives the prize? So run, that you may obtain.
American King James Version×).
When you have thought and prayed about it, talk to your parents and seek counseling from your pastor. They will help you prepare, but they can’t make the decision for you. The final decision comes down to you. This is the most important decision you will ever make.