Joel’s Baptism Story

Joel’s Baptism Story

Prior to placing my trust in Christ, I was in every way lost.  I was always looking for a new hobby to master or trying to discover a new life purpose. All I wanted was a life of meaning.  It seems silly now, but I thought I could actually build a better life for myself than what Christ had planned for me. I somehow though that I could save myself.  How ridiculous?

At the time, deep down, I didn’t think I was worthy enough to be a Christian.  I mean, I was completely self-aware that I was a perfect sinner.  I fought back and forth for years about “walking the walk” and whether or not I was “good enough” to follow Jesus. I didn’t believe I was good enough to receive the gift that God so desperately wants us all to receive. And, even though I absolutely believed in God and that he gave his life for mine, I didn’t feel saved.  I was always bowing my head to re-accept Jesus into my life.  I kept thinking, “I have to have my act together before I can start living for Christ.” You know, when you think like that, you automatically assume that you have to conquer the biggest Goliaths in your life. It’s only later that you find out that David wasn’t focused on Goliath.  He was fixated on the Lord, and that Goliath problem would soon go away.

So that was my spiritual background, prior to deciding to trust Christ.  I thought I had to pull my own God-like miracles.  I didn’t feel like I had what it took to be a follower of Christ. And because of that thinking, I never truly felt saved.  So after accepting Christ into my life, at least three more times, I started to change.  I started becoming a new creature in Christ and realized the perfect imperfectness of the journey.  I joined a Bible study group and have been going for four years now.  I began attending church regularly and I started to pray for transformation and that God would change my heart.  I started to put the Word in practice and focus on Jesus more. I stopped trying to fight my Goliaths on my own.

I’m still in awe of the transformation.  I can’t express what a joy I feel being able to identify myself as a child of God.  I no longer feel like I need to rededicate my life to Christ every time a preacher extends the invitation. Amazingly, some of the biggest Goliaths in my life, the ones that were keeping me away from pursuing Christ, lost their grip. I am humbled and forever grateful for the transformation God is making in my heart and the grace he gives so abundantly.  I’ve come to a point in my journey where I want to follow Christ completely and make him Lord of my life.

I was introduced to God through my relationships with believers, church sermons, and Bible studies.  When I started to study God’s grace and recognized my need for that Grace, it was Love.

It’s not about my performance.  It’s about Jesus’s performance for me.  Grace isn’t there for some future me but for the real me.  The me who struggled.  The me who was messy…He loves me in my mess; he was not waiting until I cleaned myself up.”  – Jefferson Bethke.

My mother and family who both fear the Lord and pray have deeply helped me in my spiritual journey, as well as other Christians that truly live for Christ. And of course there’s my Bible study group, they’ve helped me break down many of the barriers and lies that have led me to this point and have shown me a true life walk with Christ!

Jesus is continuing his house cleaning in my heart. I’ve been praying for a renewed compassion for others and their suffering. Also since following Christ, I’ve started caring more for my neighbors.  It is so great to feel for other people and be able to assist them in their need.

I realize that I’m a perfect sinner in need of a perfect savior.  I want to mark this day as the day I stopped looking back and started “walking in love with Jesus.”  I want to profess publicly that Jesus is my Lord and Savior.

— Joel Stevens, Getting Baptized July 2018

Interested in getting #dunked during our July Baptism Weekend?