A daily dose of God’s touch in a minute…
As a film enthusiast, to me, Mathew chapter 3 is like a much anticipated movie scene.
Freeing my visual imagination, I see a man dressed in camel hair, wearing a leather belt, eating wild locusts and honey, preaching and calling out to people and imploring them to repent in the wilderness.
Bible experts explain repentance as a way of turning away from sin and turning to God as well as a renewing of one’s mind and heart to give in to the ways of God. John the Baptist is urging the people to be baptized, one of the prerequisites to make a way for the Lord to come into their lives.
There are many businessmen the Pharisees as well as the chief priests and aristocrats, the Sadducees who were coming to get baptized but John can see that they are performing it as a formality to become eligible to enter heaven. Angered that these individuals have no sense of true repentance, he challenges them to prove that they have turned from sin before getting water baptized.
He also announces that he is only baptizing people with water but soon there is someone greater on the way who will baptize people with the Holy Spirit and with fire.
So the scene is set. We have the river Jordan as the location. We have John the Baptist as co-actor, we have the Pharisees and Sadducees as the villains, but where is the lead actor?
As the enthusiasts await the grand entry of the hero; here comes Jesus stepping onto the scene. The King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. The atmosphere seems to gasp in shock. No VIP entrance, no flashlights, no sound of trumpets, no bugle blowing, no throne, no crown.
He stands in the queue, just like everyone else, waiting his turn to be baptized.
John hesitates. He recognizes the greatness of the one asking to be baptized, feels he is unworthy to even carry his shoes. Jesus requests him to go ahead in order to fulfil all that he is supposed to do that’s right. After his baptism, as soon as Jesus comes out of the water, the Spirit of God descends on him in the form of a dove.
‘This is my Son in whom I am well pleased’ declares the voice from heaven.
What do we learn from this chapter?
True repentance happens when there is repentance of the heart, repentance from old ways and the renewing of the mind. This is the only prerequisite to let Jesus come into our lives and get involved in our affairs.
Baptism is a step in obedience to submerge all unrighteousness in the waters of baptism and emerge with a renewed mind and body. When you do your part, the Holy Spirit will endorse you by announcing to heaven and earth that you are now covered under God’s protection and custody.
For many, all of this may seem confusing, ritualistic and as a strange formality, especially for those who are not fully aware of the significance of repentance, baptism and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
My advice is for you to ask the Lord to help you understand all of this with clarity.
If you find it confusing and difficult to believe what others are saying, speak to the Lord, ask Him to reveal the truth to you. I believe with all my heart that if you do that, God will begin to talk to you, maybe in a dream, maybe through a friend, a message, a book, an article, or even through your own inner voice.
Now finally, what’s in it for those who repent, get water baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit?
The benefits are countless; doubtlessly the number one benefit is Eternal life and Salvation. But, without going into the list of spiritual benefits; let me list out a few benefits from my own experience.
The Holy Spirit empowers you to achieve the desires of your heart. He helps you to excel in your gifts and talents and present you to a larger audience. If you desire success He will guide you to do business ethically and yet empower you to succeed. His presence in your life will make you a better person. He will help you to forgive others and forget the wrongs and harm done to you. He will help you forgive and let go of an internal grudge or hurt, if any. When you are stuck in an impossible situation He will supernaturally help you to come out of it. His presence will cleanse everything inside and fill your heart with kindness, strength and love, which will cause your true beauty to be enhanced, including the way you look and your charisma. The list can go on.
Let me share a personal testimony of my early years after being baptized and receiving the Holy Spirit into my life. Those days I loved fashion and dressing well, I still do. I remember during those early years I would go window shopping and look at dresses. Most of the time, after looking at many outfits, when I find something I really like, I would check the price and gasp, put that piece down and walk out of the shop, empty handed.
After a while, when I would visit that store again and walk to the place where I saw that lovely dress, at a price I thought was a lot on the higher side, I would see the same dress display a tag showing “80% Discount”. This happened to me not once, not twice, but on many occasions. Guess what? I stopped coming out of stores empty handed. Yay!
What am I trying to say?
I believe that the Holy Spirit is sensitive to not only our needs but cares about our desires, goals and dreams. Once you involve Him in your life, He will make sure to be your comfort and help you to meet your every need. All you have to do is be obedient to follow the requirements that will allow the presence of the Lord into your life.
And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
Mathew 3: 16-17